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On May 11th, 2020, the 24 teams have decided on some changes in view of next season. Let’s take a closer look at it.

No relegation

Introduction of “pre-playoffs”

Two extra games

Small big changes that, anyway, will make the National League and Swiss League look different.

No relegation

Let’s start by talking about the fact that no teams will be relegated at the end of next season. We have always been against an NHL system made of no relegation. That’s not what European sport is about. However, considering the current emergency-situation, we think that no relegation is the right move. Somehow, we dare to say that it was a logical and necessary choice. The fact then, that the winners of the Swiss League playoffs can earn the promotion to the National League, provided that they meet the financial requirements, it’s positive.

Teams won’t be forced to faint (mostly financially) in order to save their place and that’s positive. Again though, that is positive considering the current emergency-situation. Our hope is that once this emergency is over – when it comes to finances, we can assume that it will take few seasons – we will get back to the previous concept. That is, the re-introduction of relegation. That is part of our sport.

Introduction of “pre-playoffs”

Several European leagues have had “pre-playoffs” since years, and we are happy that also the National League has them now. Nowadays the National League is extremely balanced and oftentimes there is the slightest difference between finishing 8th and 10th placed. Let us not forget, moreover, that also the teams between 3rd/4th placed are generally not so far from the teams that miss the post-season… we mean, thanks to this change the regular season is enhanced in value. No distractions will be allowed and after the regular season there will be a great fight for a place in “top six”.

Moreover, there will be also the chance for smaller clubs to gift their fans with great emotions and to dream to make the playoffs. This can also create several surprises and we all know that surprises are the spice of sport. We mean, our hope is that this change will be maintained over time.

Two extra games

We have mixed feelings about this change. Our first impression is that this is – with all due respect – rubbish. Our hope is that at least the potential opponents for the two extra games are to be drawn only among those teams that are not of the same “geographical area”… can you imagine, for example, Zug and ZSC Lions forced to play each other 16 times between September and April? That’s the risk. 6 regular season games, 7 in a playoffs’ series, 1 time in the Swiss Cup and maybe even two times during the knock-out stages of the Champions Hockey League. That would be just too much. Let us not forget, moreover, about the regularity of the season. In our opinion, “geographical areas” should be cancelled. And in this regard, we would be happy if the National League was composed of 14 teams that face each other 4 times.

In this case however, thinking twice and always considering the current situation, it’s not bad to give back to the teams, to TV, to fans and sponsors the games lost at the end of the 2019-20 season.

We mean, that is a strange idea that makes some sense. One-time only though, ok?

And you guys, what do you think?

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