SM-sarja

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This article is about the hockey league. For the football league, see Mestaruussarja.
SM-sarja
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 1928
No. of teams 3-12
Country  Finland
Ceased 1975

SM-Sarja was the top level of ice hockey in Finland from 1928 to 1975. SM-sarja is a common abbreviation for Suomen mestaruussarja, "Finnish Championship Series".

There was variable number of teams playing for the Finnish championship during the time of SM-sarja. The lowest number of participating teams was during the 1935 SM-sarja season when there was 3 teams. The most common number of participating teams was 12.

Since 1944-45 SM-sarja season there was relegations for lowest-ranking teams of each season. In the relegations the lowest-ranking teams either faced the winner of the 1. Divisioona (1st Division) or was straightly relegated from SM-sarja.

History[edit]

The first SM-sarja season took place in 1928. The first championship was competed as a cup. Viipurin Reipas was the winning team and they became the first Finnish ice hockey champions. SM-sarja was cancelled in 1930 because of bad winter in Finland. SM-sarja was also cancelled in 1940, 1942 and during the 1944 season because of the Winter War and the Continuation War

SM-sarja was played in amateur principles so the clubs were not supposed to pay their players beyond compensation for lost wages. However as ice hockey evolved in Finland some teams started to be handled like Businesses. In the 1960s, two leading Finnish household machine factories UPO and Rosenlew established their own ice hockey teams, Upon Pallo and Rosenlewin Urheilijat -38. These teams were run by the money of the owning companies and the players were bought from the neighbouring teams. This would be the first steps towards professionalism.

By the 1970s the concept of amateur ice hockey was turning out of date as there was commercials on players uniforms and bigger money involved in teams and in 1975 SM-sarja played its last season and was replaced by SM-liiga (Finnish Championship League) for 1976 season.

The last team to win the Finnish championship under SM-sarja was Tappara.

Formats[edit]

Between 1928 and 1933 SM-sarja Championship was contested under Cup rules.

After 1933 SM-sarja was contested as a league. In 1951 SM-sarja was divided to 2 groups and the Play Offs were introduced.

The SM-sarja moved back to one group play in 1959 though the two group-system returned for 1965–66 SM-sarja season.

SM-sarja Teams[edit]

Teams in bold still play in SM-liiga.

Winners[edit]

Until 1955 the Winner of the SM-sarja received the Aaro Kivilinna memorial award. After 1955 the winner was given the Kanada-malja ("Canada Cup") as the official rotating award of SM-sarja.

year champions
1928 Viipurin Reipas
1929 HJK
1931 TaPa
1932 HJK
1933 HSK
1934 HSK
1935 HJK
1936 Ilves
1937 Ilves
1938 Ilves
1939 KIF
1941 KIF
1943 KIF
1945 Ilves
1946 Ilves
1947 Ilves
1948 Tarmo
1949 Tarmo
1950 Ilves
1951 Ilves
1952 Ilves
1953 TBK
1954 TBK
1955 TBK
1956 TPS
1957 Ilves
1958 Ilves
1959 Tappara
1960 Ilves
1961 Tappara
1962 Ilves
1963 Lukko
1964 Tappara
1965 Karhut
1966 Ilves
1967 RU-38
1968 KooVee
1969 HIFK
1970 HIFK
1971 Ässät
1972 Ilves
1973 Jokerit
1974 HIFK
1975 Tappara