With the aim of developing club hockey at an international level, Euro Hockey League (EHL) was introduced for the 2007/08 season, an exciting new format that replaced the men’s European Cup competition at the start of the 2007/08 season.
EHL's existing shareholders – the European Hockey Federation, MEDIAPRO and Infostrada Sports – believe that this unique international competition can be developed even further and taken to a whole new level, especially in the area of cross media innovations. Additional improvements are envisioned to further validate the league's claim that the EHL is "The best way hockey has ever been presented".
In Europe, club hockey is at the heart and base of the sport, with players spending 30 to 35 weeks per year training and playing with their clubs. Euro Hockey League sets out to promote and reinforce the status of club level hockey by creating new and more opportunities for the big European clubs to play each other in the international arena and giving club hockey more exposure, more spectators, more high quality TV coverage and a broader media and marketing platform.
The target group for Euro Hockey League, its TV partners and sponsors consists of millions of European sports fans in countries across the continent, with Euro Hockey League designed to attract interest from not only hockey fans but sports fans in general. This will be achieved by the professional marketing of the competition by established Spanish leading international audio-visual services provider and sports rights management group MEDIAPRO, the production and provision of top level coverage by Infostrada Sports makes the EHL content available for anyone, anywhere and on all possible devices, and through a number of format variations introduced to make the game more transparent and attractive to TV viewers and spectators on site.
When it comes to innovation, the Euro Hockey League has long been seen as Hockey’s leading light, having pioneered many rule changes that have revolutionized the sport on a global level. EHL’s introduction of the Self Pass – where in the event of a foul a player can restart the game by dribbling with the ball rather than having to pass to a team-mate – was universally applauded for making the game more exciting than it has ever been. The Self Pass was quickly introduced to the FIH Rules of Hockey and has unquestionably changed the game forever.
Many other EHL innovations have been introduced at the highest level, including the Green Card two minute suspension, video umpire referrals and an exciting new penalty shoot-out format which sees a running face-off between the penalty taker and the goal-keeper. The EHL also trialled a rule which allowed the ball to be played above the shoulder in non-dangerous positions. It was a phenomenal success, and has become another rule change to be trialled by the FIH at their World Level events. The EHL truly is a laboratory for the continued development of the sport.
The first seven seasons of the EHL have been a staggering success. However, it doesn't stop here. Euro Hockey League is more than top hockey and excellent media coverage - it is the best way hockey has ever been presented.