This seems like a massive question for the North American, and it is. How many professional teams are there in Europe now?
If no one knows, I'll (maybe) do the count myself.
You mean club teams? Hard to give the excact number (maybe someone else has some number based on facts here) but just by counting the top elite league teams ( Finland, Russia, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Czech, Slovakia) and you get at around 100 or a tad more then there's Norway, Denmark and Austria, Sweden's 2 tier (is this the only 2-tier European league that is 100% pro) ~50 teams. + some random teams in Slovenia, Italy, Russia's 2-tier Finland's 2-tier (actually one pro team there, heh) + prolly in some countries I missed here.
200 (-20/ +50)professional club teams in Europe would be my quick take on this.
Ok, I though so but wasn't sure. Also it's kinda hard to draw a line between an amateur team and a pro team. I mean in the finnish mestis (2-tier) I'm pretty sure all the players get some money but only the best ones earn their living out of it, so I personally would count them as amateur teams, but some would say they're pro...
The czech 1.league (second-tier) is full pro. There are professional farm teams from smaller cities, but the biggest clubs which want promotion to Extraliga are quite rich and independent. Best players can earn good money, i think cca. up to 100000 EUR per year but hockey salaries are not made public in europe.
Not sure if the bottom 1/3 of Swedens 2nd tier is really fully pro, more like semi-pro, like some guys that are pros and + some students/part timers. But again I am not sure, but I know there is a huge difference in salary between the top 2nd tiers and the bottom.