Euro Hockey League
|Administrator||European Hockey Federation|
|Tournament Format||Round-robin and Knock-out|
|Number of teams||24|
|Current champion||Oranje Zwart (2014–15)|
|Most successful||UHC Hamburg (3 titles)|
The Euro Hockey League is an annual men's field hockey cup competition organised by the EHF for the very top hockey clubs in Europe. The competition was launched at the start of the 2007-08 hockey season, when it merged and replaced the men's EuroHockey Club Champions Cup (the champions competition) and European Cup II (the Cup Winners' Cup). Featuring many of the world's best players, the EHL is now seen as the pinnacle of club hockey in Europe (hockey's equivalent of the UEFA Champions League) with top clubs from across the continent playing what many consider to be the most exciting and dynamic club hockey in the world. The success of the EHL formula has brought hockey to a significantly wider audience, as evidenced by the many millions of views that EHL clips on YouTube have received.
About Euro Hockey League
In Europe, club hockey is at the heart and base of the sport, with players spending 30 to 35 weeks per year training and playing with their clubs during the regular winter season, and many also participating in friendly summer leagues and other competitions. Euro Hockey League sets out to promote and reinforce the status of club level hockey by creating new and more opportunities for the big European clubs to play each other in the international arena and giving club hockey more exposure, more spectators, higher quality TV coverage and a broader media and marketing platform.
The target group for Euro Hockey League, its TV partners and sponsors consists of millions of European sports fans in countries across the continent, with Euro Hockey League designed to attract interest from not only hockey fans but sports fans in general. This is achieved by the production and provision of top level TV coverage, an innovative website, and through a number of playing rule variations introduced to make the game more transparent and attractive to TV viewers and spectators on site.
The tournament features 24 clubs from the twelve highest ranked EHF member countries. Although the competition is called the Euro Hockey League, after Round 1 the competition is knock-out, rather than league format (similar to the UEFA Champions League in football).
Each year the 24 available league places are allocated between twelve EHF member countries' National Association's, depending on those National Association's EHF Club Ranking. National Associations ranked 1-4 in the EHL Ranking Table may enter three teams each in the Euro Hockey League, while National Associations ranked 5-8 may enter two teams each, and National Associations ranked 9-12 one team.
National Associations rankings are derived from each country's results in the Euro Hockey League and EuroHockey Club Trophy over the previous 3 years, with the points in the earlier years discounted by 50% (year 2) and 75% (year 1). This ranking of National Associations is based on the performance of all their clubs in the Euro Hockey League and EuroHockey Club Trophy. The total number of points won by clubs from each country is divided by the number of clubs to which the National Association was entitled in that year's competitions.
Each qualifying National Association is required to enter their national champion club, but is otherwise free to decide the system of qualification for their own clubs for any remaining places to which they are entitled that year.
To be eligible to play in the Euro Hockey League a country must enter 2 clubs in the EHF club competition.
The Euro Hockey League consists of five rounds.
Round 1 of the Euro Hockey League starts the tournament with a round-robin group stage. The league's 24 clubs are drawn in eight pools of three clubs, and each club in a pool plays the other 2 clubs in their pool once. The top 2 clubs in each pool go forward into Round 2. Round 1 is usually played on the second and fourth weekends in October, with matches being played at two venues.
Round 2 (KO16) and Round 3 (KO8/quarter-finals) sees the tournament switch to a straight knock out format. The sixteen clubs that progressed from Round 1 each play one match in Round 2, and the winners of those 8 matches each play another match in Round 3 (quarter-finals) to leave just four clubs. Rounds 2 and 3 are played over the Easter long weekend, usually at a single venue.
Round 4 (semi-final) and Round 5 (final, and 3 place playoff) are played at Whitsun at a single venue.
The much improved presentation and packaging of the Euro Hockey League has attracted a number of high profile sponsors, most notably Dutch bank ABN AMRO, who are the presenting sponsor of the tournament. Volvo and Intersport are also named sponsors of the Euro Hockey League, while partnerships have been formed with McGregor, ErmaSport, ATP - The Advanced Travel Partner and Dutch advertising agency Ideas for Brands.
Most Valuable Player
|2008–09||Teun de Nooijer|
|2012–13||Teun de Nooijer|
The winning club receives 20,000 euros; the second place club receives 10,000 euros; and the third place club receives 5,000 euros. The best player of the tournament gets a personal cheque of 5,000 euros. The EHL's main sponsor, ABN AMRO, sponsors the prize money for the most valuable player.
The Euro Hockey League is the top men's club competition in Europe. Below the Euro Hockey League is the EuroHockey Club Trophy, then below that the EuroHockey Club Challenge 1, the EuroHockey Club Challenge 2, and so on. This structure is designed to give every EHF member nation the opportunity to enter their best clubs into European competition at an appropriate level, and through that exposure to improve the level of their domestic hockey.