Special Sub-Topic: When the NHL Rinks are Dark...
|This league is the found in the heirachy right below the NHL, and has teams such as the Hershey Bears, Rochester Americans, and the Providence Bruins. |
American Hockey League. The AHL was formed in 1936, and contins 30 teams, one affiliated with each NHL club. The AHL has been used as both a prospect breeding ground, and a test session for the NHL to try out new rules and regulations. The AHL runs an 80-game schedule followed by a four-round playoff system that ends with the victors hoisting the Calder Cup, named after the NHL's first president Frank Calder.
|Two levels below the NHL lies this league, with teams like the Wheeling Nailers, South Carolina Stingrays, and the Florida Everblades. Which league am I describing?|
East Coast Hockey League. Unlike the AHL, not every NHL team has an ECHL team; some NHL clubs share ECHL affiliates, and some ECHL clubs have no professional affiliate. After a 72-game season, it turns to a four-round playoff system for the Kelly Cup. Names can be deceiving, and in the East Coast Hockey League's case it is true, as the Alaska Aces compete in the Western Conference of the league, alongside multiple teams in California.
|This league was formed in 2008 with predominantly Russian teams; it also has teams from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the Ukraine, among others. With an odd spelling, which league is it?|
Kontinental Hockey League. The KHL was formed in 2008 out of the Russian Superleague, and holds teams all the way across Eurasia from the Pacific coast to Prague. You're probably wondering why it isn't CHL for Continental Hockey League, aren't you? Well, the KHL organizers didn't want it confused with the Canadian Hockey League, or the Central Hockey League in North America. Also, the abbreviation can also look the same in both the Cyrillic and Roman alphabets. The playoff champion is awarded the Gagarin Cup, named after Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth. The KHL is considered to be the second-best league in the world, behind the National Hockey League.
|I'm watching a SM-liiga between Jokerit and KalPa. Which country's hockey league am I watching?|
Finland. The Sm-liiga was founded in 1975, to replace the amateur SM-sarja association. SM is short for "Suomen mestaruus" or "Finnish championship". The league is not affiliated with the Finnish Ice Hockey League, but they have an agreement in place. The schedule starts in mid-September with breaks throughout the winter for the Finnish national team to play in different tournaments. The Kanada-malja trophy is awarded to the winner, along with gold medals to all of the winning team.
|One alternative to the NHL is the Elitserien which is what country's top hockey league?|
Sweden. The Swedish Elitserien was formed as a ten-team league in 1975, and expanded to 12 teams in 1987. The Elitserien is the highest-attended European hockey league. While a majority of players are from Sweden, the games are shown all through Scandinavia on TV. Some of the most illustrious teams include HV71, Brynas and Djurgarden.
|What is the name of the Czech Republic's top level hockey league, featuring Slavia Praha, Energie Karlovy Vary, and Kometa Brno?|
Extraliga. Not to be confused with the Slovak Extraligs, both leagues were formed in 1993, when the Czechoslovak First Ice Hockey League split in two, just like the country. The Czech Extraliga has suffered greatly from players departing for both the NHL and KHL, but has managed to ice 14 teams. The league was dominated by VHK Vsetin in the late 1990s, winning five straight titles from 1995-99, and again in 2001.
|Although, it doesn't get many headlines in the UK, the Elite Ice Hockey League is Britain's largest, with teams in all four Home Nations. Which of these teams, all with NHL nicknames, does not exist?|
Belfast Islanders. A relatively new league in 2003, the EIHL replaced the disbanded Ice Hockey Superleague (which ran from 1996 to 2003). Like the British soccer pyramid, the league also runs knockout tournaments all season long, including the Challenge Cup (which has had varied formats) and the Knockout Cup, a two-leg total-goals knockout tournament (i.e. on top of the regular season and playoff tournament). While the regular season and playoff titles have been won in the same year, only the Coventry Blaze were the first team to add the Challenge Cup in the same year, doing it in the 2004-05 season (the Knockout Cup had not been created that year, it was established a season later).
|The Canadian Hockey League is the largest junior hockey league. The CHL is composed of three smaller leagues, the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The three league winners, plus the host city of the tournament, advance to play for which prestigious trophy?|
Memorial Cup. The winners of the three leagues, along with the host city's team, gather each May for a four team tournament with the winner taking the Memorial Cup. The trophy was first presented in 1919, but didn't become the CHL's property until 1972. The Memorial Cup has been criticized because of the host city's automatic entry, as a team can theoretically go 0-80 in the regular season, and then win three consecutive games at the Memorial Cup and be champions.
Two of the three CHL leagues have expanded into the USA, with the WHL having an entire U.S. Divsion, and the OHL expanding into Michigan and Pennsylvania. The QMJHL has expanded beyond Quebec - expanding into the Canadian maritimes with teams in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI. Players are 14 or 15 when they are drafted by CHL teams and can play up until they are 20. CHL teams are limited to two "import" players, which are defined as players from outside North America.
|The International Ice Hockey Federation hosts various tournaments throughout the year. Which tournament runs from the last week of December and into January?|
World Junior (Under 20) Hockey Championship. The World Juniors, as they're known for short, have become a major deal over the Canadian Christmas season after they won eight of ten titles between 1988-97, including five straight from 1992-97. The Canadians then did it again from 2005-09, taking gold in five straight years. There are three tiers below the main tournament, meaning relegation is also a part of the tournaments. The first official World Junior Championship was held in 1977, and was won by the Soviet Union.
|Founded in 2007, which women's hockey league features the Montreal Stars and Boston Blades?|
Canadian Women's Hockey League. The CWHL players are not paid, and also have to pay for their own equipment, unlike their male counterparts. The CWHL was founded by ex-players of the National Women's Hockey League, which ceased operations in 2007. The league started with seven teams in the first year and shrunk to five by the 2012-13 season. The first CWHL Draft was held in 2010 and Tessa Bonhomme, already an Olympic gold medalist from Vancouver, was the first overall pick.
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