From the Elitserien to SHL
SHL was previously named Elitserien (The elite series) but changed its name to “Swedish Hockey League – SHL” for the 2013/2014 season. The series is played from September to March followed by the playoffs where the winning team can lift the Le Mat trophy.
SHL before 1975
Until 1975 Swedish ice hockey championships were played under completely different circumstances. The first championship was played in 1922. Two years earlier, the sport had been introduced in Sweden by the American Raoul Le Mat, who also gave name to the trophy that is still at stake in SHL.
Between 1922-1975, the playoffs varied and most of the time it was based on a playoff game from the various regional allsvenskies.
The teams that have won the Swedish championship most times are Djurgårdens IF, Brynäs IF, Färjestad BK and IK Göta. If you only count SM titles since the modern Elitserien’s start in 1975, Färjestad has taken most titles followed by Djurgårdens IF and Brynäs IF.
The 2018/2019 Season
When the 2018/2019 season ended, the series looked as follows:
The winners of the series collect a winning bonus of SEK 1 million and also get the advantage of playing at home in decisive playoff games. The top six teams in the table are directly qualified for the quarter finals, while teams 7-10 play eighth finals in the best of 3 matches. Since the 2002/2003 season, quarter finals, semi-finals and finals are best played by 7 matches. Previously, the series winner chose opponents in the quarter finals and then chose the second and so on. Since the 2005/2006 season, the winner plays against the lowest placed, etc.
Knock-out and qualification
For the teams ending in place 13 and 14 in the series, there is a direct qualification against the winners in the Hockeyallsvenskan (div. 2). The matches in the direct selection are played best out of 7 matches.