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Elitserien, or the Swedish Elite League (SEL), as it is often unofficially called in English, is a professional ice hockey league composed of twelve teams in Swedenmarker. It is the highest-level ice hockey league in Sweden, and is ranked by the IIHF as the fourth best league in Europe after the Russian Kontinental Hockey League, the Finnish SM-liiga, and the Czech Extraliga.

The first season under the name Elitserien was played in 1975–76. The Swedish ice hockey championships have been played in various forms since 1922.

Naturally, Swedes constitute a large majority of the players in Elitserien, approximately 70% during the 2006–07 season. According to the Swedish Ice Hockey Association there were 99 foreign players in the teams' rosters, and a total of 127 foreigners registered with the twelve Elitserien teams at the start of the 2006–07 season.


The Swedish ice hockey championships was awarded for the first time in Swedish history in 1922, only two years after ice hockey was introduced in Sweden by the American film director Raoul Le Mat. IK Göta won the first championships final.

Elitserien under its current name started on October 5, 1975, in which each team played a total of 36 games. Originally the league consisted of 10 teams but expanded in 1987 with an additional two teams.


Each Elitserien regulation game is an ice hockey game played between two teams and is 60 minutes long. The game is composed of three 20-minute periods with an intermission of a maximum of 18 minutes between periods. At the end of the 60-minute regulation time, the team with the most goals wins the game. If a game is tied after regulation time, overtime ensues. During the regular season, overtime is a five-minute, four-player on four-player sudden death period, in which the first team to score a goal wins the game.

In the playoffs, an unlimited number of sudden-death 20 minute five-on-five periods occur until one team scores. While a game can theoretically continue forever, only a handful of games have ever surpassed four overtime periods, and none have gone beyond six.

Elitserien games are played on a hockey rink, which is rectangular ice rink with rounded corners and surrounded by a wall. It measures 30 by 60 meters (98.42 by 196.85 ft), conforming to international standards.


Elitserien originated in 1975 with ten teams, and after expansion in 1987 currently consists of twelve teams. The two lowest ranked teams after the regular season have to play in a regulation series called Kvalserien together with four teams from the second tier league HockeyAllsvenskan. The top two teams of Kvalserien qualify for the next Elitserien season, while the other four are demoted to HockeyAllsvenskan. Theoretically, there is a possibility that two 'new' teams will play in Elitserien at the beginning of each season.

Counting from the start of Elitserien in 1975 Färjestads BK is the most successful team with eight Swedish Championship titles, commonly called SM-guld in Swedish. The next most successful team is Djurgårdens IF with six championship titles. Counting from 1922 when the first Swedish championships were played Djurgårdens IF is the most successful team with sixteen championship titles, followed by Brynäs IF with twelve and IK Göta with nine.

In 2009 Håkan Loob, the general manager of Färjestads BK, sent a letter to Alexander Medvedev, the owner and president of the Russian Kontinental Hockey League, on behalf of five Swedish (Elitserien) teams "that are interested in discussing the future of European hockey." the five teams -- Färjestad, Frölunda, Djurgården, Linköping and HV71 -- recently informed the Swedish Elite League that they intended to pull out after the 2009-2010 season. There has been no other news as to the teams' futures.

2009–10 season

Team City Arena Capacity
Brynäs IF Gävlemarker Läkerol Arenamarker 8,265
Djurgårdens IF Stockholmmarker Hovetmarker 8,094
Frölunda HC Gothenburgmarker Scandinaviummarker 12,044
Färjestads BK Karlstadmarker Löfbergs Lila Arenamarker 8,250
HV71 Jönköpingmarker Kinnarps Arenamarker 7,038
Linköpings HC Linköpingmarker Cloetta Centermarker 8,500
Luleå HF Luleåmarker Coop Arenamarker 6,000
Modo Hockey Örnsköldsvikmarker Swedbank Arenamarker 7,600
Rögle BK Ängelholmmarker Lindab Arenamarker 5,040
Skellefteå AIK Skellefteåmarker Skellefteå Kraft Arenamarker 6,001
Södertälje SK Södertäljemarker AXA Sports Centermarker 7,250
Timrå IK Timråmarker E.ON Arenamarker 6,000

Season structure

The Elitserien season is divided into a regular season from late September through the beginning of March, when teams play each other in a predefined schedule, and a playoffs from March to the beginning of April, which is an elimination tournament where two teams play against each other to win a best-of-seven series in order to advance to the next round. The final remaining team is crowned the Swedish champion, or Svenska mästare in Swedish.

Regular season

In the regular season, each team plays 55 games. Points are awarded for each game, where three points are awarded for a win, one point for losing in overtime, two points for winning in overtime, and zero points for a loss in regulation. At the end of the regular season, the team that finishes with the most points is crowned the league champion and awarded a prize sum of 1,000,000 SEK (approx. 150,000 USD) as a bonus. The second-placed team receives 500,000 SEK while the third-placed team gets 250,000 SEK. The eight highest ranked teams by points qualify for the playoffs. The two lowest ranked teams after the regular season have to play in the relegation and promotion series Kvalserien in order to qualify for the next season of Elitserien.


The Elitserien Playoffs is an elimination tournament, where two teams battle to win a best-of-seven series in order to advance to the next round. The first round of the playoffs, or quarterfinals, consists of the first seed choosing which team to play from the seventh or eighth seed; the second choosing from the remaining two lowest seeded; the third choosing between the remaining two lowest seeded after second's pick; and the fourth playing the sole remaining team. In the second round, or semifinals, the teams are re-seeded, with the top remaining seed playing against the lowest remaining seed, and the other two remaining teams pairing off. In the third round, the finals, the two remaining teams face each other.

In each round the higher-ranked team is said to be the team with the home-ice advantage. Four of the seven games are played at this team's home venue — the second and fourth, and, when necessary, the fifth and seventh games — with the other games played at the lower-ranked team's home venue.


The two lowest ranked teams after the regular season have to play in a regulation series called Kvalserien together with four teams from the second tier league HockeyAllsvenskan. The top two teams of Kvalserien qualify for the next Elitserien season, while the other four are demoted to HockeyAllsvenskan.

Notable players

The top five point scoring forwards in the 2008–09 season were Per-Åge Skrøder, Fredrik Bremberg, Linus Omark, Jaroslav Hlinka, and Niklas Sundström. The top goal scorer was Per-Åge Skrøder. The top three scorers on defence were Marcus Ragnarsson, Pasi Puistola, and Mikko Lehtonen and the top three goaltenders (by save percentage) were Jonas Gustavsson, Mattias Modig, and Nicklas Dahlberg.

Trophies and awards

At the end of the Elitserien playoffs the Swedish Champions are awarded the Le Mat Trophy. There is only one trophy that is awarded to players based on their statistics during the regular season; the Håkan Loob Trophy for the goal-scoring leader.

One of the most prestigious individual awards is Guldhjälmen, which is awarded annually to the Most Valuable Player; the voting is conducted by the players in Elitserien. Guldpucken is awarded annually to the ice hockey player of the year in Sweden. It is not necessarily awarded to a player in Elitserien; season 2005–06 the award was given to Kenny Jönsson in the Swedish second highest ice hockey league HockeyAllsvenskan. The award Årets Rookie (Rookie of the Year) is awarded annually by Svenska Spel and Svenska Hockeyligan to the best rookie player in Elitserien.

Television and radio

Elitserien games are aired nationally in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway, by Canal+. One game from each round is selected and shown on Canal+ Sport 1, and simulcasted in 1080i high definition on Canal+ Sport HD. The selected game is also aired on Mobile TV, available to Telenormarker customers in Sweden with 3G phones. All 330 regular season games are available on pay-per-view, via cable and satellite for Canal+ costumers, and also available via Canal+'s streaming Internet TV. During the 2004–05 NHL lockout Elitserien games were being broadcasted in Canadamarker by Rogers Sportsnet.

Sveriges Radio (SR) is the official radio broadcaster of Elitserien. Each round is covered by Sportextra in SR P4 with reports from all arenas, all games are available in their entirety on SR's internet radio and to mobile phones via 3G.

Previous winners

Previous Elitserien regular season winners

Previous Elitserien playoff winners (Swedish Champions)


External links

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