Champions Hockey League with new mode

EThere have been more successful days for German ice Hockey than this week. Not just that yourself Toni Söderholm said goodbye to SC Bern on Wednesday and the national team is now without a national coach. The day before, the German representatives had made a real crash landing in the round of 16 of the Champions Hockey League (CHL). The Grizzlys Wolfsburg lost 2:3 against the Swedish championship runner-up Luleå HF, the EHC Red Bull Munich even 1:5 against the Swiss champion EV Zug.

Also the Straubing Tigers had little to smile about, with the CHL record winner Frölunda HC from Gothenburg it was 0:4. What coach Tom Pokel also attached to the referees, who would have repeatedly sent his team to the penalty box for trifles. “Absolutely embarrassing,” Pokel grumbled afterwards on the TV microphone. Which immediately earned him a penalty from the CHL: 500 euros and a game on probation. His statements were “not conducive to the CHL brand”, it was said as a reason.

One million euros in prize money

With the CHL brand, however, this is not so easy. While the Champions League is the goal of all dreams in other sports, associations, leagues, clubs and fans in ice hockey have a hard time with international club competitions. Over the decades there have always been new formats for a European Cup, hardly any of which lasted long. The current variant, the CHL, has been around since 2014.

And although the winner now receives one million euros in prize money and the duels between the top teams from Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Germany offer very decent ice hockey, the CHL has problems. The number of spectators is significantly lower than in the domestic leagues, currently no participant has an average of more than 5000, some games do not even reach a four-digit number.

This is also the case in Germany. The champions from Berlin didn’t even play their group games in the modern arena at Ostbahnhof, where they welcome an average of 10,521 fans to league games. For the CHL he moved to the old corrugated iron palace, just 2631 spectators wanted to see it. To the chagrin of CHL Managing Director Martin Baumann, who knows this from his Swiss homeland.

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