The IIHF launched a tournament with the same name in 2008 to coincide with the IIHF's 100th anniversary. The tournament's only season was played between 8 October 2008 and 28 January 2009, and was won by the ZSC Lions who got to play in the 2009 Victoria Cup game as a result. The IIHF planned to launch another season, but was ultimately forced to cancel the tournament due to problems with finding sponsors and failure to agree on a format. On 9 December 2013, the IIHF officially announced that they had launched a new tournament with the same name, born out of the European Trophy, starting in the 2014–15 season.
The 2014–15 season's regulation round will be played between 21 August 2014 and 7 October 2014. 40 clubs from at least six different European countries will participate in the season and be divided into ten groups of four teams each. Each team will play a double round-robin in their group, for a total of 6 games per team. The ten group winners as well as the top six group runners-up will qualify for the playoffs, which will begin on 4 November 2014 and end with the final on 4 February 2015. The playoffs will be played as a single-elimination tournament. In total, 149 games will be played (including the regulation round and playoffs). A draw taking place in Minsk, Belarus on 21 May 2014 will determine the groups.
40 clubs from the first-tier leagues of at least seven different European countries will participate in the inaugural 2014–15 season. Teams can qualify for the tournament by obtaining either an A, B or C license.
A license: The 26 founding clubs are granted an "A license", provided that they play in the first-tier league of their respective system.
B license: Two teams—the top regular season team and the top playoff team in the previous season without an A license—from each of the founding leagues (EBEL, Extraliga, Liiga, DEL, NLA and SHL) will also participate. If these top teams are already founding clubs with A licenses, other teams from the league can take the B license spots. The order the B licenses will be handed out is:
Regular season winner
Runner-up, regular season
Best placed semifinal loser
Worst placed semifinal loser
If the leagues after that still don't reach their guaranteed number of places (EBEL: 4; DEL, NLA and Extraliga: 5; SHL and Liiga: 6) the third and fourth placed team in the regular season also can be considered.