About the EUHL
The EUHL project started in 2013 with the initial thought of pan – European expansion through the creation of four divisions to promote education and university hockey. The original idea still foresees the united European university hockey via active university leagues in the East Division (Slovakia, Czech republic, Austria, Poland, Hungary), West Division (Germany I, France, Belgium, The Netherlands), North Division (Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Norway, Denmark) and South Division (Germany II, Austria II, Switzerland, Slovenia).
Presently the EUHL consists of EAST Division (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and partnering North Division in Sweden). The new potential applicants expressing interest are coming from Latvia, Estonia, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Hungary and Romania. On the top of the running of the regular EUHL season, EUHA has established strong relationships with the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) and furthermore with the Russian Students Hockey League (SHL). With both associations the EUHA has signed Memorandums of Understanding.
From a thought to reality
The EUHL was established in 2013 and it is managed by the EUHA (the European University Hockey Association). The league is based on amateur basis, meaning that players representing colleges and universities are not able to accept any gifts or salaries for their hockey endeavours. They do not have contracts with professional teams or are they under any kind of commitment to hockey agents regarding representation. Players have to be sdudent ID’s cardholders or have to possess specific confirmation from their university or college – one of which they have to make available during every game. The first condition under which a university can take part in this ambitious league is its willingness to play. “I met up with Jaroslav Straka, we approached many universities and they liked this idea. Many players cannot get to the first league or extra league teams, so after graduation most of these aspiring players usually quit playing. We would like to help them by combination of ice hockey with higher education.” Ľubomír Sekeráš.
The main EUHL goal is to build the bridge between junior and professional hockey. Until now, players ending the junior league have not succeeded among professionals, for instance; they are forced to quit their careers in the higher national league. Currently, players have a new possibility: to study at university or college and to play hockey simultaneously. This new possibility helps them improve their hockey skills and ameliorate their education. It is commonly known that some players mature a little bit later. There are a lot of junior aged players who want to continue playing and study at the same time. However, the possibilities to continue developing their hockey carrier are limited. On average, there are around ten players from each junior team who quit. To date there has been no regular season system raising their chances of bridging from the junior to the professional league in Europe.
The EUHL’s ambition is to offer a fusion of education and hockey to young players. After playing the university hockey league and after a successful university graduation, the EUHL players can still join the professional hockey league and increase its quality and competitiveness. If a player is not able to succeed in professional hockey or decides not to proceed in professional hockey, he will simply proceed with a career with the gained university diploma in the area of his study. On the top of all of this, for example in America there are companies specifically looking for young hockey players with university diplomas. Because this type of person is considered to be responsible, self-assertive and mentally capable of facing complex situations.