Wednesday, December 31, 2014

WIHF - Leagues

The gap between leagues of the world is enough to see a visible gap in style and skill of play. Taylor and Alexander decided this gap is where they would draw the line in their Super 10 pitch. In order to keep the Super 10 even and competitive, the 9 best leagues were grouped. 

The first order of business was to make non-Russian KHL teams that defected from their own league to go back. The KHL was strong enough, and Jokerit, Slovan Bratislava, and Medvescak Zagreb would help boost their domestic leagues. The first choice were the 3 best leagues in the world, the NHL, KHL, and Canadian Dominion Cup. Sweden's SHL, and Finland's Liiga soon followed. There were spaces for 4 more leagues to fill the remaining holes. The Slovak and Czech Extraliga made the jump to the top tier. The German DEL was chosen as the 8th league. It came down to the Swiss and Austrian leagues. Both leagues were about even, and considred the 9th and 10th best leagues in the world. The commissioners of the leagues decided to merge the two, since together they fit under the 24 team maximum. They secured Zagreb to play in their league, and in addition to Olimpija Ljubljana made the geography of the league stretch the Alps, and renamed the league the AlpenLiga

Then, the matter of settling Tier 2. These leagues didn't sell out 20,000 seat arenas, they were about player and hockey development. The 20 leagues would have a wider gap from top to bottom than tier 1, but still remain competitive. The 2nd tier was unique, there were 3 kind of leagues. First was the minor league, hiding under the shadow of the top tier league of the same country with the intention of growing top players. The AHL continues to have this tie with the NHL. Second was the promotion league. Much like soccer, some leagues chose the tradition of the worst teams moving down from the top tier, and the best teams moving up. The best team from Liiga 2 in Finland would move up to the top Liiga. For the AlpenLiga, a promotion playoffs would occur, with the 2nd tier of Switzerland and Austria attempting to knock off the worst teams of the AlpenLiga. The resulting relegations would be sorted into the correct tier 2 league accordingly. The third form was the top tier of non top tier countries. Examples of this are the British Elite Ice Hockey league, and Serie A in Italy. Taylor and Alexander stressed that these stand alone leagues could compete in tier 1 if they're deemed good enough. Ideally, the leagues would grow, the best players would be picked off by top tier teams, and the return investment helps the teams grow. 

The leagues not associated with these tiers were all together but wouldn't face eachother. The best team in the ECHL, or Australian league wouldn't have the resources to travel to Europe. Promotion to the 2nd tier is possible, for both leagues and teams through performance.

Taylor wanted a common logo thread between the tier's leagues. A two color black and white logo in a shape that would immediately tell you what tier they were in. They can be seen below. 

Kontinental Hockey League, National Hockey League, Swedish Hockey League, Slovak Extraliga, Deutschland Eishockey Liga, Liiga(FIN), Czech Extraliga, AlpenLiga

American Hockey League, Canadian Hockey Leagues, Junior Hockey League (RUS), HockeyAllsvenskan (SWE), Liiga 2 (FIN), 2nd Bundesliga (GER), Czech 1. Liga, Slovak 1. Liga, National League B (SUI), Austrian National League, Elite Ice Hockey League (GB), GET-Ligaen (NOR), Ligue Magnus (FRA), Metal Ligaen (DEN), Serie A (ITA), Belarusian Extraleague, Polska Liga (POL), MOL Liga (HUN/ROM), NedBelLux League, Asian Ice Hockey League

The teams started preseason. This is the majority of the team's only opportunity to play teams from different countries. The Lightning and Flyers barnstormed Europe for 2 weeks, playing in places like Munich, Budapest, and Sochi. Several upsets occurred, making people question the tiers, but overall the best games were between same tier teams in different countries. The teams came home, and started the regular season, setting channel records for the NHL network's round the clock coverage on the first day of league play October 1st.


The league logos are a mix of current, country coat of arms, and sponsor logos. The logos appear on the collar of all the uniforms.

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