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|Champions Hockey League|
|No. of teams||12 (29)|
|Most recent champion(s)||ZSC Lions (2008-09)|
The Champions Hockey League is an ice hockey league run by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). The league is expected to begin its activities in 2008-09, as a part of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the IIHF. The IIHF decided to cancel it for the 2009-10 season, due to sponsorship problems related to the global financial problems. The federation briefly confirmed it back for the 2010-11 season, but it was announced in november that partnership difficulties hadn't been solved and that the league was actually not to be back.
The Champions Hockey League is the official replacement of the European Champions Cup, that crowded its last champion in 2008. It is expected that the Silver Stone Trophy, the highest trophy of the European Champions Cup, will be the top trophy of the new league.
From the annual IIHF European club rankings, teams ranked 7 to 24 will take part in the first qualification round. These 18 teams are to be split into 6 groups of 3; the 6 winners will advance to the second qualification round, where they will face the runners up (i.e. the team that lost to the winner in the finals) of the six strongest European leagues. This will be a two-legged match, and the 6 winners will be decided over the aggregate of the scores of the two matches played (one home and one away).
Those six winner will move on to the next round, where they will join the 6 champions of the six aforementioned leagues. Those 12 clubs will be split in 4 groups of 3, where they will face each of other the teams of the group twice. The four group winners will advance to the semi-final, another two-legged series. Ultimately, both winners will face each other, yet again in a two-legged format final. The winner of this series will be named European champion and earn the 1,000,000 Swiss francs prize.
For 2008, league ranking went as follows:
1. Continental Hockey League 2. SM-Liiga 3. Czech Extraliga 4. Elitserien Those leagues are guaranteed two teams in the 2008-09 CHL
5. Slovak Extraliga 6. National League A 7. Deutsche Eishockey Liga Those leagues are guaranteed one team in the 2008-09 CHL, and may have a second via qualifiers
8. Belarussian Hockey League 9. Latvian Championship 10. Oddset Ligaen 11. Österreichische Eishockey Liga 12. Kazakhstan Championship 13. GET-Ligaen 14. Ligue Magnus 15. Slovenian Hockey League 16. Serie A 17. OB I Bajnokság 18. Polska Liga Hokejowa 19. Eredivisie 20. Vyscha Liha 21. Elite Ice Hockey League 22. Liga Naţională de Hochei The champion team of each of these leagues will take part in the first qualification round
|Champions Hockey League winners|
|2008-09||ZSC Lions||Metallurg Magnitogorsk|