No IIHF Champions Hockey League for 2011-12


Not a surprise here, but the IIHF announced today that no agreement was made on the IIHF's proposal for the 2011-12 CHL season, so all plans for the league have been cancelled.  The CHL existed for one season back in 2008-09, but lost their sponsorship deals during the global financial crisis and since then they have not been able to re-launch.  This was the second attempt to re-launch, after pulling the plug on the 2009-10 season late and leaving many clubs angry and demanding compensation.

SC Bern of Switzerland's NLA took it a step further and has taken the IIHF to court over the lost season, and compensation for the lost year has been a sticking point in re-launching the project.  Some clubs, particularly those based out of the Nordic countries, are looking to launch their own international competition based more on market strength than club strength, called the European Trophy.  The tournament launched in August and September of 2010 with the final tournament being the Red Bulls Salute in Salzburg, Austria.  With conflicting tournaments, a lack of trust between the clubs and the IIHF, and the inability of all the various national federations to adequately satisfy their members' demands, this failure to re-launch is no surprise.

It's too bad.  A CHL would have put a lot of players and teams in a bigger spotlight, and would have been very interesting to cover here on this site.  Instead, we'll have to just be satisfied with the source leagues themselves, many of whom could use the extra revenue and exposure the CHL would provide them.  Another benefit of such a prominent competition would be the recruiting tools for the member clubs on players, many of whom are leaving their national leagues for more prominent ones.  Risto Pakarinen did a piece on the struggles of the SM-Liiga in retaining players, with Finnish players going to not just the NHL and AHL, but to the KHL, Elitserien, and even the NLA.

They'll probably try again for 2012-13, but the CHL looks more and more like a one shot deal, at least as first proposed by the IIHF.

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