The ‘Champions Hockey League’ held its annual draw in Tampere on Wednesday ahead of the 2023/24 season: the 24 teams include three from each of the six founding leagues (Swedish Hockey League, Finnish Liiga, Swiss National League, Czech Extraliga, German DEL and the Austrian-based international ICEHL) with an extra spot for Finland’s Tappara Tampere, the reigning European champion. There is also one team each from Denmark, France, Norway, Slovakia and the UK’s Elite Ice Hockey League.

Based on their position in the grid, each team plays all teams in the columns to its left (played at home) and right (played on the road) but not the ones in the same row: the grid wraps around so that, for example, defending champion Tappara will play at home against Skelleftea AIK, Adler Mannheim and the Belfast Giants, and away against EHC Biel-Bienne, the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers and the Aalborg Pirates.

After each team has played six games, they will all be ranked together on the same table (‘Regular Season’) according to points and the top 16 teams will qualify for the playoffs in which the Regular Season ranking will determine their matchups (1st vs 16th, 2nd vs 15th etc). Four rounds of playoffs are required to determine the new European club champion: the first three rounds are all two-game, home-and-away series, with the winner determined on aggregate score. The 2023/24 CHL Regular Season will start on 31 August and conclude in October; the playoffs start on 14 November and finish with a one-game CHL final on 20 February 2024.

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