Best Ice Hockey Leagues (Part 3)

Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL)

The DEL was established in 1994-1995 and was consisted of teams from the Ice Hockey Bundesliga’s first and second division. In the early day, the league received controversies as many teams were heavily in debt and some clubs were required to fold. Furthermore, rulings by the European Court of Justice allowed players to move quite frequently between teams and attendance numbers declined sharply at the turn of the new millennium.

However, the league regained its popularity as it got an influx of NHL players during the 2004-2005 and re-applied the use of the relegation system to put more emphasis on plays in the second division of the Ice Hockey’s Bundesliga. Since the 2001-2002 season, championship play has been under controlled by Eisbaren Berlin as they achieved 5 championships in 10 years. In recent years, the EHC Red Bull Munchen have fought their way to the top of the league, achieving three straight championships.

While the DEL is still working on marking its footprint in the hockey landscape, it’s difficult not to like German hockey. As we found in their unexpected turn to the Silver Medal in the 2018 Olympics, Germany is developing a strong and passionate fan base with the ability of competing with the best teams in the world.

National League A (NLA)

The National League A (NLA) is based in Switzerland It is the top tier of the Swiss hockey league, with the best attendance figures for European hockey clubs in 2016-17, thanks to its spacious (17,131 capacity) stadium with the capacity of averaged 16,399 spectators each game.

The NLA has 12 teams that make up a total of 50 games in a season, after which the top eight teams are selected for the playoffs. The bottom four teams are set into a consolation bracket of sorts and the leading team from the National League B is given an opportunity to vie for NLA inclusion.