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The 2020/21 CHL Format

The Competition Format 

  • 32 teams from 12 leagues
  • Teams can only qualify on sporting merits
  • No shareholding club shall automatically be granted playing rights
  • A maximum of 5 teams per country
  • The CHL Champions are automatically qualified for the next CHL season. However, this will not grant one extra place for the league of the CHL winners.

The Qualification System

Teams must earn their place in the CHL on the ice, based on sporting merits only. Teams must reach one of the following criteria in order to become a CHL contestant: 

1. CHL champions 
2. National league champions 
3. Regular season winners 
4. Regular season runners-up 
5. Regular season third-placed
6. Regular season fourth-placed
7. Regular season fifth-placed


Special Circumstances: Coronavirus Impact on the Qualification to the 2020/21 Season

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affected European club ice hockey in spring 2020 massively. National leagues were forced to stop their operations and therefore couldn’t crown their champions in the playoffs (exception: Belarus). The crisis and its impact on the national leagues also affected the qualification to the Champions Hockey League. However, as there are clear qualification criteria in place and regular seasons were completed almost everywhere, the issue could be solved by awarding the remaining places to the next best ranked regular season teams.


The CHL League Ranking

The number of places per league is allocated with the help of the CHL league ranking. This tool calculates the performance of teams in every CHL season and the better the teams perform, the more spots a league can achieve. However, the six shareholding leagues remain ranked 1-6 while all challenger leagues follow in accordance. Every year, the previous four CHL seasons are taken into consideration (weighted 100, 75, 50 and 25 percent – in which the newest season counts the most).

How are spots allocated to leagues?

The CHL Draw

On 3 June 2020, the 32 qualified teams will be drawn into 16 pairings according to the following Draw Rules:

  • There will be two pots containing 16 teams each.
  • Pot 1: Teams ranked 1-16 | Pot 2: Teams ranked 17-32. The seedings are based upon the CHL Ranking Tool. 
  • Draw order: Teams from Pot 1 will be drawn alternately at random against teams from Pot 2.
  • The Draw will provide the Round of 32 pairings.
  • As the pairings are drawn, they are placed in the Playoff Tree, starting with the top-left bracket, followed by the top-right bracket, the third pairing will be placed in the bottom-right bracket and the fourth in the bottom-left bracket.  
  • Clubs from the same league cannot be drawn into a Round of 32 pairing. 
  • Should a league conflict occur, then the club in question will be placed in the next possible pairing available, determined by the help of software.
  • No further Draws will take place; the Playoff Tree leads the teams from the Round of 32 through the Round of 16, the Quarter-Finals, the Semi-Finals and all the way to the Final.
See how the 32 teams are drawn into 16 pairings

The Playing Format

A total of 61 games will be played over the course of 9 game days between October and February. The season will start with an immediate knockout Round of 32, two-game, home-and-away, aggregate score series up to the Semi-Finals. The season culminates on 9 February 2021 with the ultimate one-game Final.

The CHL Playing Format
A total of 61 games will be played in the 2020/21 Season
12 Leagues, 13 Countries
32 teams from 13 different countries are competing in this year's CHL

The Playoff Aggregate Score

The Round of 32, Round of 16, Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals will be played in a home-and-away two-game series and are decided upon the aggregate score of the first and second leg. Overtime and shootouts can only happen following the return game if the aggregate score is tied. 

Not sure how the aggregate score in the playoffs works?

The Overtime and Shootout procedure

In all knockout rounds, there will be a ten-minute sudden-death overtime period, played with three skaters and one goalie each, if the aggregate score is tied.

If the CHL final is tied after 60 minutes, there will be a regular 18-minute intermission followed by a 20-minute sudden-death overtime period. Overtime will be played with four skaters and one goalie each.


Please find the regular CHL Format and Rules & Regulations here.

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