|No. of teams||10 (BeNe League)|
|Most recent champion(s)||Friesland Flyers|
|Most championship(s)||Destil Trappers (15)|
The Eredivisie is the only semi-professional ice hockey league in the Netherlands and the highest level of competition sanctioned by the Nederlandse IJshockey Bond (NIJB; English: "Dutch Ice Hockey Federation") and sanctioned by the Royal Belgian Ice Hockey Federation. The league was formed in 1945 and has been playing continuously since 1964.
Starting in 2015-16, the top 10 Dutch teams joined the multi-national BeNe League, which also features teams from Belgium. The Friesland Flyers, who finished as runners-up in the BeNe League, were crowned Dutch national champions.
The Dutch ice hockey Eredivisie was formed after World War II, with teams in Amsterdam, The Hague and Tilburg. It suspended operations from 1950 to 1964, but has organized a season of competition annually ever since. Over the years the number of teams competing fluctuated between 3 and 10 (currently 7), and the number of games played in the regular season between 4 and 36.
Recent History Edit
For the 2008-2009 Eredivisie season, the Utrecht Dragons and Eindhoven Kemphanen joined the league. In 2009-2010, Utrecht returned to the Eerste Divisie. Prior to the 2010-2011 season, Amstel Tijgers, one of the oldest teams in the league, dropped out, as did Groningen Grizzlies after three seasons, due to poor results on the ice and low revenues. In 2010, a new team, the Zoetermeer Panthers, won the Dutch Cup but dropped out of the first North Sea Cup tournament due to financial problems.
For two seasons, 2010-11 and 2011-12, the league's regular season consisted of a tournament with several Belgian teams called the North Sea Cup. The two countries maintained distinct national cups and national championship playoffs during these years. The Belgian teams, namely HYC Herentals, White Caps Turnhout, and IHC Leuven, struggled on and off the ice in the new league, with smaller budgets and fewer imported players than their Dutch counterparts. By the end of the second North Sea Cup season, Leuven and Turnhout had dropped out of the league. The North Sea Cup was disbanded in the summer of 2012 when the lone remaining Belgian team, HYC Herentals, was admitted as a full member of the Dutch Eredivisie.
For 2013-14, the Amsterdam G's, which replaced the Amstel Tijgers for 2011-2012 and 2013-2013, ceased operations after financial problems and back-to-back last place finishes, while the Dordrecht Lions began play in the Eredivisie.
Other Leagues Edit
In the Netherlands, below the Eredivisie is the Eerste Divisie (First Division), the country's top amateur ice hockey league. There is no relegation or promotion between the Eredivisie and the Eerste Divisie, although some cities (such as Tilburg, Amsterdam and The Hague) have a professional team in the Eredivisie and a separate but similarly-named amateur team in the Eerste Divisie. All other Dutch hockey leagues are recreational leagues. Dutch Eredivisie and Eerste Divisie teams currently compete against each other for the Dutch Cup, a tournament that is played before and during the Eredivisie regular season.
Dutch Eredivisie national champions since 1946:
|European Ice Hockey Leagues|
Armenia - Austria - Belarus - Belgium - Bosnia and Herzegovina - Bulgaria - Croatia - Czech Republic - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - France - Georgia - Germany - Greece - Hungary - Iceland - Italy - Kazakhstan - Latvia - Lithuania - Luxembourg - Macedonia - Netherlands - Norway - Poland - Romania - Serbia - Slovakia - Slovenia - Spain - Sweden - Switzerland - Turkey - Ukraine - United Kingdom
Soviet Union - Russia - Czechoslovakia - Yugoslavia - West Germany - East Germany - Ireland - Luxembourg - Malta - Portugal - Alpenliga - Interliga - Inter-National League - North Sea Cup - Panonian League - Eastern European - Balkan League - Baltic League - Carpathian League - Slohokej Liga
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