Unfortunately, we are still in a lockout and Gary Bettman is still the commissioner of our beloved NHL. Before you start emailing me, facebooking me, tweeting to me or sending smoke signals my way, I understand that Count Bettman isn’t the sole reason that the league is locked out, however, I blame him for everything in life. Poor economy? Bettman’s fault. It’s raining outside and now my hair is frizzy? Bettman’s fault. I ran out of waffles so now I will starve on my way to work? Definitely Bettman’s fault.
I digress. In the past few weeks, we’ve covered a multitude of European leagues that are serving as a temporary home for our beloved out-of-work NHLers, including NLA (Switzerland), SM-liiga (Finland), KHL (Mother Russia), Elitserien/Allsvenskan (Sweden) and DEL (Germany). If you missed any of the articles on these leagues, click on the links attached to the league name above and it’ll take you straight to the post.
Those are just a handful of pro leagues that exist in Europe, as there are well over 25 pro leagues in the region. I chose a few of the more popular leagues that have lockout players, but there are other leagues that have a couple players as well. To conclude this riveting series on European hockey leagues, I thought I’d do a “Get to know…” gorp. A trail mix, if you will, of leagues that home a player or two on a lockout contract. When you have a half a jar of peanuts, 3 boxes of raisins, a half eaten bag of m&ms and 36 pretzel rods, throw it all together and you have a delicious treat, right? So here is a tasty snack of all the other leagues that have NHLers at the moment.
Erste Bank Eishockey Liga (Austria)
Countries with EBEL teams: Hungary (1), Czech Republic (1), Slovenia (1), Croatia (1), Austria (8)
2012 Champions: Black Wings Linz
Year Founded: 1923
Current NHLers on lockout contracts with EBEL: Tyler Myers (Klagenfurter AC), Thomas Vanek (Graz 99ers), Bryan Bickell (Orli Znojmo), Michael Grabner (Villacher SV), Corey Potter (Vienna Capitals), Andreas Nodl (HC Innsbruck), Dustin Jeffrey (Medvescak Zagreb)
Countries with Eredivisie teams: The Netherlands (6), Belgium (1)
2012 Champion: Eaters Geleen
Year Founded: 1945
Number of regular season games played: 36 (with a best-of-five semi-finals, then best-of-five championship)
Current NHLers on lockout contracts with Eredivisie: Dale Weiss (Tilburg Trappers)
Get Ligaen (Norway)
Countries with Get Ligaen teams: Norway (10)
2012 Champion: Stavanger Oilers
Year Founded: 1935
Number of regular season games: 48 (plus relegation)
Current NHLers on lockout contracts with Get Ligaen: Deryk Engelland (Rosenborg IHK Elite), Jack Skille (Rosenborg IHK Elite)
Serie A (Italy)
Countries with Serie A teams: Italy (10)
2012 Champion: Asiago
Year Founded: 1924
Season structure: Season divided into three parts, first part is a regular season where each team plays against every other team in the league four times. Second part is a round-robin to determine who moves on to the third part, which is their playoffs.
Current NHLers on lockout contracts with Serie A: Ben Guite (Val Pusteria Brunico)
On a side note, if I were an out-of-work NHLer, I would totally sign with HC Broncos Sterzing-Vipiteno. Why? They play at the Disco Arena! I picture ice that lights up like the floor on Saturday Night Fever, the jumbotron being replaced by a giant disco ball, and the Bee Gees as linesmen (with bell bottom ref pants and heeled skates of course).
Bundesliga (Germany 2) (Germany)
Countries with Bundesliga teams: Germany (13)
2012 Champion: Landshut Cannibals
Year Founded: 1973
Current NHLers on lockout contracts with Bundesliga: Adam Hall (Ravensburg Towerstars), Jonathan Bernier (Heilbronner Falken), Rick DiPietro (SC Riessersee), Matt D’Agostini (SC Riessersee), T.J. Galiardi (Bietigheim Steelers)
Elite Ice Hockey League (United Kingdom)
Countries with EIHL teams: England (4), Scotland (4), Northern Ireland (1), Wales (1)
2012 Champion: Belfast Giants
Year Founded: 2003
Current NHLers on lockout contracts with EIHL: Matt Beleskey (Coventry Blaze), Tom Sestito (Sheffield Steelers), Drew Miller (Braehead Clan), Anthony Stewart (Nottingham Panthers)
This should get you started for the time being. In the next couple days, I’ll post part two of our lockout league trail mix. There are a lot of onesie twosie leagues, and if this post gets any longer, I’d have to put a warning to pack a lunch at the beginning of the article. Enjoy your Sunday folks!