The UEFA Champions League of Hockey

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  • http://twitter.com/skaye Sean Kaye

    I'd thought about something like this in the past as well as I'm a big soccer fan. I am presently living in Australia and five years ago Australia moved from Oceania to Asia in terms of the region it sits in for football (soccer). With that move came the ability for Australian domestic clubs to compete in the Asian Champions League (Asia's equivalent to the UEFA Champions League). To describe it simply, there's been marginal interest despite good performances by the Australian clubs.

    Also, the thing to understand is that the organisational structure of soccer is much different in how the regulating bodies are setup. You have FIFA as the world's governing body and under it sits UEFA, CONCACAF, etc – the regional bodies that govern the game. Then underneath those you have the domestic FAs which govern the domestic leagues. While the English Premier League is slightly different to that, it still submits to the authority of the English FA on all major issues outside of some commercial arrangements. So FIFA and UEFA can dictate to the FAs and the clubs what's going to happen. It is also why they have stable transfer rules and the like. The NHL will never submit to IIHF under any circumstance.

    Finally, there is the matter of competition. The quality of the NHL is so much better than anything in Europe over the course of a season it would be almost be farcical to watch. AHL clubs would be able to take on most domestic European clubs and beat them. If you were to pit an NHL team, in mid-season form against ANY domestic club in the world, bar the occasional upset, there would be a significant difference. Having watched a considerable amount of professional hockey from around the world at club level, the NHL is not like anything else.

    Conversely, in European football, the top 10 clubs from across Europe could beat each other on any given night. A Barcelona vs Chelsea match will be competitive no matter what. Inter vs Arsenal is going to provide a tight game. You can even make an argument for the top 16 teams in Europe being one off competitive.

    Lastly I guess, how on earth would you schedule this? European clubs play 30 odd games a year of top-flight domestic football, then maybe about 10 – 20 games of cup competition. Travel isn't such a major issue in Europe, everything is one or two hours away by plane. Imagine the LA Kings having to play Jokerit or Moscow Dynamo?

    Also, the money doesn't exist to make the NHL want to cut its schedule to include this. People like Rupert Murdoch through SkyTV in Europe spend BILLIONS in TV dollars for the rights to the Champions League. Not qualifying for even an English Premier League club is a huge financial loss. There's no way the NHL could pull that kind of money when they can't even get a US TV deal worth anything of reasonable value.

    Great Concept – just never going to happen for dozens of reasons.

  • Tomi Traktori

    Champions League is going to happen sooner or later, but without NHL-teams.

  • Richard Loat

    I see travel being an issue but I think it's possible to create a modified Champions League for the teams that was situated in a single city perhaps instead of at home stadiums. I guess one possibility is a UEFA/World Championship of Hockey Hybrid.

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