The Olympic break was well needed for some, and upped the levels of others. This would be the last time the international teams played until the end of June. Until then, the players main focus was getting to the Super 10. But first, they had to win their leagues. In the leagues with under 16 teams, the best 4 teams qualify for the playoffs. In leagues with more than that, the best 8 qualified. This assured only teams that deserve it advanced. The playoffs started the first week of April, and ran through the 2nd week of May. The series are best of 7. Here is how each team qualified.
Super 10 bid - Chicago Blackhawks
The cities that were considered to host the first Super 10 were chosen from the previous year's champions. Since the NHL was the highest of the league coefficients, the Hawks were chosen to host the first tournament. They were eliminated in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs by the Colorado Avalanche.
KHL bid - CSKA Moscow
The Red Army team is the the most storied hockey team in Russia. It was fitting that they were the first team to represent Russia in the original world tournament. Moscow ran to the finals beating Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, Sochi, and Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
NHL bid - Seattle Sea LionsThe expansion team from 2018 mesmerized the Cascadia crowd. Known for their great atmosphere, the team went 3 rounds in the playoffs without losing a home game, beating Minnesota, Colorado, and Tampa Bay in the Stanley Cup finals in 6 games. This was the club's first Stanley Cup.
SHL bid - Vaxjo Lakers
The Lakers finished 4th in the Swedish league after qualifying on the last day of the regular season. They beat Modo that won the league by 16 points in the first round, and then swept HV71 in the championship
Slovak Extraliga bid - HC Slovan Bratislava
The former KHL team was moved back to thier home league, and impressed the Slovak crowd with a new Russian style of play. After a 6 game series against HKm Zvolen, and 5 game series against HK Dukla Trencin, the Eagles get a chance to play in the Super 10.
Canadian Dominion Cup bid - Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs lifted their first title since 1967, 73 seasons later. Many Habs fans were quick to note that it still wasn't a Stanley Cup. The Leafs beat the St. John's Ice Caps in 4, then the Winnipeg Jets in 7 to win the Dominion Cup.
DEL bid - Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg
The German club has started a dynasty of German hockey. Grizzly Adams won their 3rd straight title after beating the Hamburg Freezers in 5 games.
Finnish Liiga bid - Jokerit
Another team that graduated from the KHL school, the Helsinki club finished 3rd in the regular season, then had a great run to finals after series wins over Assat and Espoo.
Czech Extraliga bid - HC Benzina Litinov
The Czech club benefited from a bad call in the 7th game of the Czech championship. A Kometa Brno goal was waved off for goalie interference, but the following replays showed that the goalie dove. This inspired Litinov to score 2 in 4 minutes late in the 3rd to lift the trophy, and advance to Chicago.
Alpen Liga bid - Geneva Servette HC
The Alpen league was split into 2 conferences, the Swiss, and Austrian conference(Slovenia and Croatian teams were also in this league). Geneva beat Bern to play another former KHL club in Zagreb, winning in 6 games and moving on to Chicago.
The groups were drawn for the Super 10. The two groups of 5 had round robin play starting around May 20th. The best 2 teams in each group advance to a knockout round against the teams in the other group. Group A was Chicago, Geneva, Vaxjo, CSKA, and Litinov. Group B were Jokerit, Toronto, Wolfsburg, Bratislava, and Seattle. CSKA and Chicago advanced to the knockout round from Group A. Toronto and Bratislava advanced from group B. Toronto faced off against Original 6 rival Chicago, winning 3-2 in 2OT. CSKA beat Bratislava 3-0 to match Toronto in the finals. Toronto went on to win 4-3 after a deflection of Russian skate. Toronto wins the first Super 10!
We chose teams that we wanted to make jerseys on, Toronto won the title based on flipping a coin. Please comment on the logos and not the teams.