ICE Hockey League
2020–21 ICE Hockey League season
Austrian Hockey League.png
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 1923
CEO Karl Safron[1]
No. of teams 14
Country(ies) Austria (8 teams)
Czech Republic (1 team)
Hungary (1 team)
Italy (2 teams)
Slovakia (1 team)
Slovenia (1 team)
Most recent champion(s) EC KAC
(31st title)
Most championship(s) EC KAC (31)
Official website www.ice.hockey/en

The ICE Hockey League (International Central European Hockey League) known as the bet-at-home ICE Hockey League for sponsorship reasons)[2] is a Central European hockey league that also serves as the top-tier ice hockey league in Austria, it currently features additional teams from Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Slovenia. The league was known as the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga (EBEL) from 2003 until 2020.

Until 2005–06, the league consisted solely of Austrian teams. Since then, the league has added teams from Slovenia (from 2006 to 2017 and from 2021 onwards), Hungary (starting 2007–08), Croatia (from 2009–10 through 2012–13, and again from 2017–18 through 2018–19), the Czech Republic (starting in 2011–12 through 2019–20 and again from 2021-22 onwards),[3] Italy (starting in 2013–14)[4] and Slovakia (starting in 2020–21).

The non-Austrian teams are competing for the "League Champion" title. Only Austrian teams in this league are additionally eligible for the "Austrian Champion" title. The league has had different sponsors, and the current naming rights have been held by bet-at-home.com since 2020.

History[edit | edit source]

Foundation[edit | edit source]

HDD Olimpija vs EC KAC at Bežigrad Stadium during the 2012–13 Austrian Hockey League season

The roots of the league go back to 1923 and various Championships, whose winner is officially recognized as the Austrian Champion. There was no Austrian competition between 1939 and 1945. During World War II, a number of Austrian teams competed in the German Ice Hockey Championship, which is why the EK Engelmann Wien and Vienna EV list German Championships in their history.

1965–1990[edit | edit source]

The Bundesliga, as it was called, was incepted for the 1965-66 season by EC KAC from Klagenfurt, IEV from Innsbruck, WEVg from Vienna, and KEC from Kitzbühel. EC KAC won the championship 8 times in the 1970s.

When the Austrian national hockey team earned promotion into the Group B of the IIHF, it led to a boom in spectators. Three foreign players were allowed and first signs of financial hiccups came. SV Kapfenberg went bankrupt, and WAT Stadlau abstained from participating in the Bundesliga for financial reasons.

1990–2003[edit | edit source]

A first step in internationalization was undertaken as the clubs, in addition to the national championship, participated in the Alpenliga. The Alpenliga was formed with clubs from Italy and Slovenia. After making Ralph Krueger their manager in 1991 VEU Feldkirch won five championships from 1994 to 1998. Rising budgets caused more and more clubs to abstain from participation. In 1997 SV Kapfenberg went bankrupt during the season, and the championship was down to only four clubs. In 2000 VEU Feldkirch went bankrupt. The league was named after its sponsor, Uniqua.

2003–2020[edit | edit source]

In 2003 Erste Bank became sponsor and the league was named Erste Bank Eishockey Liga. In 2013–14, Italy's Bolzano Foxes became the first non-Austrian team to win the EBEL title when they beat the Salzburg Red Bulls 3 games to 2 in their best-of-five final series. Such success is not unheard of for an Italian outfit, but previous similar results took place in the Alpenliga and the Cup of the European Leagues, standalone competitions whose postseason tournaments were distinct from the Austrian playoffs. One year after rejoining the league from the Kontinental Hockey League, KHL Medveščak Zagreb once again withdrew from the EBEL, this time citing the difficult economic situation of the club.[5]

2020–present[edit | edit source]

In 2020, the league was renamed to ICE Hockey League. "ICE" refers to the league's locale – International Central European – and the surface of an ice hockey rink. At the same time, bet-at-home.com became the title sponsor of the league.[6] From the 2021-22 season onwards the league will expand to 14 teams, with reigning champions Olimpija Ljubljana and Pustertal Wölfe joining from the Alps Hockey League and Orli Znojmo returning after one-year absence.[7]

Teams[edit | edit source]

Team City Arena Capacity Founded Joined ICEHL Left ICEHL
Current teams
Bratislava Capitals Flag of Slovakia Bratislava Ondrej Nepela Arena 10,055 2015 2020–21
Dornbirn Bulldogs Flag of Austria Dornbirn Messestadion 4,270 1992 2012–13
EC GRAND Immo VSV Flag of Austria Villach Villacher Stadthalle 4,800 1923 1977–78
EC KAC Flag of Austria Klagenfurt Stadthalle Klagenfurt 5,500 1909 1923–24
EC Red Bull Salzburg Flag of Austria Salzburg Eisarena Salzburg 3,600 1977 2004–05
Fehérvár AV19 Flag of Hungary Székesfehérvár Ifjabb Ocskay Gábor 3,600 1960 2007–08
Graz 99ers Flag of Austria Graz Eisstadion Liebenau 4,050 1999 2000–01
HC Bozen–Bolzano Flag of Italy Bolzano PalaOnda 7,220 1933 2013–14
HC Pustertal Wölfe Flag of Italy Bruneck Rienzstadion 2,050 1954 2021–22
HC TWK Innsbruck Flag of Austria Innsbruck OlympiaWorld Innsbruck 7,212 1994 2012–13
HK Olimpija Ljubljana Flag of Slovenia Ljubljana Tivoli Hall 7,000 2004 2021–22
Orli Znojmo Flag of the Czech Republic Znojmo Nevoga Arena 5,500 1933 2011-12
2021–22
2019-20
Steinbach Black Wings 1992 Flag of Austria Linz Donauhalle 3,800 1992 2000–01
Vienna Capitals Flag of Austria Vienna Albert Schultz Eishalle 7,022 2000 2001–02
Former teams (since introduction of current league format)
VEU Feldkirch Flag of Austria Feldkirch Vorarlberghalle 5,200 1945 1967–68 2003–04
HK Jesenice Flag of Slovenia Jesenice Podmežakla Hall 4,500 1948 2006–07 2011–12
HDD Olimpija Ljubljana Flag of Slovenia Ljubljana Tivoli Hall 7,000 1928 2007–08 2016–17
Medveščak Zagreb Flag of Croatia Zagreb Dom Sportova,
Arena Zagreb
5,000
15,000
1961 2009–10
2017–18
2012–13
2018–19

Playoffs[edit | edit source]

With their victory in the finals of the 2013–14 season, HC Bolzano became the first non-Austrian team to claim the league title. Formerly the best non-Austrian team result was when HDD Olimpija Ljubljana managed to get into the finals in the 2007–08 season, losing the championship to EC Red Bull Salzburg.

Winter Classics[edit | edit source]

Winter Classic Date Site Home Team Away Team Score Attendance
Klagenfurt 2015 2015-01-03[8] Wörthersee Stadion (football) KAC VSV 1–4 29,700
Šalata 2013 2013-02-01[9][10] Šalata (hockey) Medveščak Capitals 1–2 5,120
Šalata 2010 2010-01-31[11][12] Šalata (hockey) Medveščak Capitals 4–3 (OT) 4,600
Šalata 2010 2010-01-29[13][12] Šalata (hockey) Medveščak VSV 2–3 4,600
Pula 2012 2012-09-16[14] Pula Arena (amphitheatre) Medveščak Capitals 4–1 7,130
Pula 2012 2012-09-14[14] Pula Arena (amphitheatre) Medveščak Olimpija 1–2 7,022
Klagenfurt 2010 2010-01-09[15] Wörthersee Stadion (football) KAC VSV 1–3 30,500

Bolded teams denote winners

Austrian Champions[edit | edit source]

See also: List of Austrian ice hockey champions
  • 1923 Wiener EV
  • 1924 Wiener EV
  • 1925 Wiener EV
  • 1926 Wiener EV
  • 1927 Wiener EV
  • 1928 Wiener EV
  • 1929 Wiener EV
  • 1930 Wiener EV
  • 1931 Wiener EV
  • 1932 Pötzleinsdorfer SK
  • 1933 Wiener EV
  • 1934 Klagenfurter
  • 1935 EC KAC Klagenfurter
  • 1936 EK Engelmann
  • 1937 Wiener EV
  • 1938 EK Engelmann
  • 1939 Not played due to World War II
  • 1940 Not played due to World War II
  • 1941 Not played due to World War II
  • 1942 Not played due to World War II
  • 1943 Not played due to World War II
  • 1944 Not played due to World War II
  • 1945 Not played due to World War II
  • 1946 EK Engelmann
  • 1947 Wiener EV
  • 1948 Wiener EV
  • 1949 Wiener EG
  • 1950 Wiener EG
  • 1951 Wiener EG
  • 1952 EC KAC Klagenfurter
  • 1953 Innsbrucker EV
  • 1954 Innsbrucker EV
  • 1955 EC KAC Klagenfurter
  • 1956 EK Engelmann
  • 1957 EK Engelmann
  • 1958 Innsbrucker EV
  • 1959 Innsbrucker EV
  • 1960 EC KAC
  • 1961 Innsbrucker EV
  • 1962 Wiener EV
  • 1963 Innsbrucker EV
  • 1964 EC KAC
  • 1965 EC KAC
  • 1966 EC KAC
  • 1967 EC KAC
  • 1968 EC KAC
  • 1969 EC KAC
  • 1970 EC KAC
  • 1971 EC KAC
  • 1972 EC KAC
  • 1973 EC KAC
  • 1974 EC KAC
  • 1975 ATSE Graz
  • 1976 EC KAC
  • 1977 EC KAC
  • 1978 ATSE Graz
  • 1979 EC KAC
  • 1980 EC KAC
  • 1981 Villacher SV
  • 1982 VEU Feldkirch
  • 1983 VEU Feldkirch
  • 1984 VEU Feldkirch
  • 1985 EC KAC
  • 1986 EC KAC
  • 1987 EC KAC
  • 1988 EC KAC
  • 1989 GEV Innsbruck
  • 1990 VEU Feldkirch
  • 1991 EC KAC
  • 1992 Villacher SV
  • 1993 Villacher SV
  • 1994 VEU Feldkirch
  • 1995 VEU Feldkirch
  • 1996 VEU Feldkirch
  • 1997 VEU Feldkirch
  • 1998 VEU Feldkirch
  • 1999 Villacher SV
  • 2000 EC KAC
  • 2001 EC KAC
  • 2002 Villacher SV
  • 2003 Black Wings Linz
  • 2004 EC KAC
  • 2005 Vienna Capitals
  • 2006 Villacher SV
  • 2007 Red Bull Salzburg
  • 2008 Red Bull Salzburg
  • 2009 EC KAC
  • 2010 Red Bull Salzburg
  • 2011 Red Bull Salzburg
  • 2012 Black Wings Linz
  • 2013 EC KAC
  • 2014 Red Bull Salzburg (EBEL title winner HC Bozen–Bolzano)
  • 2015 Red Bull Salzburg
  • 2016 Red Bull Salzburg
  • 2017 Vienna Capitals
  • 2018 Red Bull Salzburg (EBEL title winner HC Bozen–Bolzano)
  • 2019 EC KAC
  • 2020 Playoffs cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
  • 2021 EC KAC
Club Winners Winning years
EC KAC
32
1934, 1935, 1952, 1955, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2009, 2013, 2019, 2021
Wiener EV / EG
17
1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1937, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1962
VEU Feldkirch
9
1982, 1983, 1984, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
Red Bull Salzburg
8
2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2014[*], 2015, 2016, 2018[*]
Innsbrucker EV (also known as GEV Innsbruck)
7
1953, 1954, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1989
Villacher SV
6
1981, 1992, 1993, 1999, 2002, 2006
EK Engelmann (earlier known as Pötzleinsdorfer SK)
6
1932, 1936, 1938, 1946, 1956, 1957
ATSE Graz
2
1975, 1978
Black Wings Linz
2
2003, 2012
Vienna Capitals
2
2005, 2017

 bold – seasons in which league had teams outside Austria

 [*] – seasons in which the Austrian Champion didn't win the ICEHL title

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at ICE Hockey League. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.