|Hockey in Germany|
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Structure of hockey in Germany
Hockey in Germany can basically be divided into three groups:
Since itīs foundation the DEL tries to develop into a professional league with the aim to copy the NHL. At the same time it is still possible for teams to move up from the 2nd division to the DEL just as it is possible for teams in the DEL to get dropped to the 2nd division in the case that the champion of the 2nd division can claim a license for the DEL (which depends on the success on the ice and the financial surroundings, so far it has led to disputes every year). At the moment the DEL is also the most stable league in Germany (which does not say too much) and the only league that offers some form of continuency (which also doesnīt say a lot if you compare hockey in Germany to other countries).
The teams that perform in the 2nd division under the control of the DEB switch team-names, league-modes and number of teams in the 2nd division on a regular basis, no matter wether the season is running or not.
The 3rd division is separated into a northern and a southern group in order to cut down on travel-expenses for the teams involved. Behind the third division regional leagues follow that are usually controlled by the hockey-federations of the states. At the end of the list some more or less unorganized junior leagues and the female hockey leagues follow. It might be positive to add that a german youth league has been founded in which junior players perform against each other even outside their regions, but as usual in Germany, nobody knows how long the concept will work.
The DEL (Deutsche Eishockey Liga), 1. Bundesliga
The DEL has 14 teams that play each other 4 times in the regular season (no regional groups or divisions), the first 8 then qualify for the playoffs, the teams ranked 13 and 14 perform in the playdowns. The looser of the playfown-series has to move to the 2nd division, but only if the 2nd division champion can finance a DEL-season and, well, nobody really knows what other factors come into play. So far no team had to move down and after the team from Rosenheim went out of business during the 99/00 campaign even two teams were allowed to move up into the DEL.
A win gets the respective team three points in the standings. After 60 minutes of regulation time no overtime is played, each team gets one point and the teams go for a shootout. The winner gets a second point.
The teams are allowed to carry 16 players with foreign identities on their roster and as many german players as they wish, most teams donīt wish too many.
The DEL-teams are not bound to their location, just as in the NHL it is possible to sell a franchise and move it. The Revierloewen Ratingen moved to Oberhausen for example, the financially struggeling team from Landshut sold itīs license for three million marks (1.5 million dollars) to the Munich Barons who then again relocated to Hamburg in the summer of 2002.