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The European Hockey League was a European ice hockey club competition which ran between the years 1996 and 2000.
It was established in 1996 by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and commercial partner CWL Telesport and first contested in 1996-1997. In 1996-1997, twenty teams played in five divisions. After home and away inter-division matches, the division winners plus the three best second-placed teams went into the quarter-finals. The first winners were Finnish side TPS, who beat Russian HC Dynamo Moscow 5-2.
In the 1997-1998 season, 24 teams competed in six divisions. The division winners and the two best second-placed teams progressed to the quarter-finals. The league was won by Austrian side VEU Feldkirch, who beat Russian side Dynamo Moscow 5-3.
In 1998-1999, 24 teams competed in six divisions. The top two in each division went into playoff matches. The winners of these six playoffs went into the semi-final round, which was played in two leagues. The winners of these two leagues played the final. For the third year in a row, Dynamo Moscow lost the final, this time to fellow-Russians Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
In 1999-2000, 16 teams competed in four divisions. The two best clubs of each divisions advanced to the semi-final round, which was played as home and away games. The four winners of the semi-finals qualified for the EHL Top Four Final. In that final, Metallurg Magnitogorsk defended its title, this time beating Czech side Sparta Prague 2-0.
Following consultation with its commercial partner, now CWL Holding AG, the International Ice Hockey Federation decided to suspend the running of the European Hockey League for the 2000-2001 season. Despite financial investment and the improved quality of the contest, attention from the media, spectators and TV networks in Europe was not seen as satisfactory. In order to optimise exposure of the league in Europe, the International Ice Hockey Federation decided to consult with European broadcasters starting from the 2001-2002 season. An international club competition, in the tradition of the previous European Cup, was staged by the International Ice Hockey Federation for the 2000-2001 season, but the European Hockey League did not restart.
European Hockey League FinalsEdit
|1997||TPS||5–2||Dynamo Moscow||Turku, Finland|
|1998||VEU Feldkirch||5–3||Dynamo Moscow||Feldkirch, Austria|
|1999||Metallurg Magnitogorsk||2–1 (OT)||Dynamo Moscow||Moscow, Russia|
|2000||Metallurg Magnitogorsk||2–0||Sparta Praha||Lugano, Switzerland|