The Champions Hockey League (CHL) has announced that the EIHL will get a wild card team for the 2016-17 CHL season. It will be the third straight season that the Great Britain-based league will have a team in competition.
The spot will be given to the regular season winner of the EIHL. It’s a unique placement in that way. The EIHL determines the national champion based on regular season play and not the more familiar playoff format. The league is the CHL’s only exception to the practice of “giving priority” to playoff champions.
The EIHL regular season winner will be determined over the weekend, with it coming down to the Cardiff Devils and the Sheffield Steelers. The Steelers are the defending EIHL champions and took part in CHL play during the 2015-16 season. Braehead Clan of the EIHL also participated in this season’s CHL.
The Clan surprised this year, winning a game over the German ERC Ingolstadt. The Steelers went through the group stage without a win and neither qualified for the playoffs.
Inside CHL play, wild cards are referred to as “C-Licenses.” For the second year, 10 will be given out to leagues that are not a part of the Founding Leagues. That includes league champion and regular season champion from the Norwegian Ligaen and the Slovakian Extraliga, and the champion of the EIHL, the French Ligue Magnus, the Danish Ligaen, and the Extraliga in Belarus. A C-License is also granted to the winner of the IIHF Continental Cup.
One more will be given, but it has not yet been determined who will get that.
33 other teams have previously been berthed into the 2016-17 CHL season.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.