National League (ice hockey)

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National League
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2019–20 NL season
National League logo.png
FormerlyNDA
1938–1999
Nationalliga A
1999–2007
National League A
2007–2017
National League
2017–present
SportIce hockey
Founded1938
CEOJean-Marie Viaccoz
Michael Rindlisbacher
No. of teams12
Country  Switzerland
Most recent
champion(s)
none
Most titlesHC Davos (31)
TV partner(s)MySports
SRG
Relegation toSwiss League
Related
competitions
Swiss League
Official websitewww.nationalleague.ch

The National League (NL) is a professional ice hockey league in Switzerland and is the top tier of the Swiss league system. Prior to the 2017–18 season, the league was known as National League A.[1] During the 2018–19 season, the league had an average of 6,949 spectators per game which is the highest among European leagues (ahead of the KHL with 6,397 and the DEL with 6,215). The capital city's club SC Bern has been ranked first of all European clubs for 18 seasons and had an average attendance of 16,290 after the regular season. The ZSC Lions are another club in the top ten of European ice hockey attendance, ranking seventh with 9,694 spectators.[2]

Season structure[edit]

During the regular season, each of the 12 teams play 50 games. The top eight teams after the regular season qualify for the playoffs to determine the Swiss champion in best-of-seven series. The bottom four teams in the standings play a relegation tournament, called playouts, in which each team retains their regular season points and play an additional six matches. Following those matches, the two bottom ranked teams will play each other in a best-of-seven series, with the loser then playing the winner of the Swiss League playoffs in a best-of-seven series for a spot in the successive NL season.[3]

Current teams[edit]

Team Location Arena Capacity Founded Joined league
City Canton
HC Ambrì-Piotta Ambrì Wappen Tessin matt.svg Ticino Valascia 6,500 1937 1985
SC Bern Bern Wappen Bern matt.svg Berne PostFinance Arena 17,031 1931 1986
EHC Biel Biel/Bienne Wappen Bern matt.svg Berne Tissot Arena 6,521 1939 2008
HC Davos Davos Wappen Graubünden matt.svg Grisons Vaillant Arena 6,800 1921 1993
Fribourg-Gottéron Fribourg Wappen Freiburg matt.svg Fribourg BCF Arena 8,934 1938 1980
Genève-Servette HC Geneva Wappen Genf matt.svg Geneva Patinoire des Vernets 7,135 1905 2001
Lausanne HC Lausanne Wappen Waadt matt.svg Vaud Vaudoise Aréna 9,600 1922 2013
HC Lugano Lugano Wappen Tessin matt.svg Ticino Cornèr Arena 7,800 1941 1981
SC Rapperswil-Jona Lakers Rapperswil-Jona Coat of arms of canton of St. Gallen.svg St. Gallen St. Galler Kantonalbank Arena 6,200 1945 2018
SCL Tigers Langnau im Emmental Wappen Bern matt.svg Berne Ilfis Stadium 6,000 1946 2015
ZSC Lions Zürich Wappen Zürich matt.svg Zurich Hallenstadion 11,200 1930 1989
EV Zug Zug Wappen Zug matt.svg Zug Bossard Arena 7,200 1967 1987

Import players[edit]

The current gentlemen's agreement allows teams to dress up a maximum of four non-Swiss players for each game. There is no official rule as this would be against Swiss laws to limit foreign workers in a given enterprise. This agreement isn't directly related to Swiss citizenship as players with a different nationality but with a Swiss player-license are considered as Swiss players, thus they don't count as import players. Current examples of this scenario are players like Floran Douay and Tim Bozon with Genève-Servette HC or Justin Krueger and Josh Jooris with Lausanne HC. They all play with a Swiss player-license as they have spent a good majority of their childhood playing hockey with junior teams in Switzerland yet they don't possess Swiss citizenship. Such players would not be able to play in the NL if it wasn't for their Swiss player-license as they wouldn't be considered good enough to use an import player spot on any team. Those spots are usually reserved for players who have had a good NHL career or players with great stats and performances in the AHL, SHL, KHL or Liiga.

The subject of import players has been and still is a huge subject of debates among team owners and GMs. Some of them wish to allow more than four import players per game in order to reduce the salary of stars Swiss players and the others want to keep that limit to four players to allow more Swiss players to play on the top-6 and on special units.[4][5]

Media coverage[edit]

NL games are only available in Switzerland and MySports is the league's official broadcaster, airing all regular season and playoffs games. MySports pays CHF 35 million per year to broadcast NL games and selected SL games.[6] Games are available with German, French and Italian comments.

The SRG SSR airs regular season games highlights after each round and two selected games per playoffs night in all three languages.

Past champions[edit]

Swiss National Championship Serie A (1909–1937)

Swiss International Championship Serie A (1916–1933)

Club Winners Winning Years
HC Davos
31
1926, 1927, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944,
1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1958, 1960, 1984, 1985, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015
SC Bern
16
1959, 1965, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1997, 2004, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2019
EHC Arosa
9
1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1980, 1982
ZSC Lions
9
1936, 1949, 1961, 2000, 2001, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2018
HC Lugano
7
1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1999, 2003, 2006
HC La Chaux-de-Fonds
6
1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973
EHC Kloten
5
1967, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996
EHC Biel
3
1978, 1981, 1983
EHC St. Moritz
3
1922, 1923, 1928
HC Bellerive Vevey
3
1909, 1919, 1920
HC Bern
3
1916, 1917, 1918
HC Les Avants
2
1912, 1913
HC Rosey-Gstaad
2
1921, 1925
HC Villars
2
1963, 1964
Club des patineurs de Lausanne
1
1911
EHC Visp
1
1962
EV Zug
1
1998
Grasshopper-Club Zürich
1
1966
HC Château-d’Œx
1
1924
HC La Villa Lausanne
1
1910
SC Langnau
1
1976

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Resolutions of the National League Assembly regarding the 2017–18 season" (in German). Swiss Ice Hockey Federation. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Swiss lead attendance study". www.iihf.com. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  3. ^ Lovis, Frédéric (14 June 2013). "Les play-out de LNA seront modifiés". Le Matin. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Future of Swiss hockey - Same objective, different recipes". swisshockeynews.ch. 15 June 2020. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Will a salary cap be introduced into the National League in 2024?". swisshockeynews.ch. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Legal situation between league and MySports still in discussion". swisshockeynews.ch. 6 March 2020. Retrieved 16 June 2020.

External links[edit]