A 16-2 Gambling Run In Euro Hockey Calls For An Official $EBR European Hockey League Rankings
Two weeks ago on Spittin’ Chiclets, we were talking Euro pucks and Mikey surprised me and asked me to rank the different leagues.
As you can see I’m still a rookie in the podcast game, fumbled, and obviously left out a couple of the better leagues. I tried to clear it up on last week’s podcast (15:00 mark) but I wanted to put pen to paper and make sure the rankings are official. As for everyone calling for the KHL they no longer have teams in Europe and I consider them their own entity and not part of the European hockey scene. Some will say I have played in every league cause I was such a suitcase in my career but, I have not, but I have been betting on all these leagues since NHL youngsters like Zegras and Caufield were in diapers, so I have a pretty good understanding of them all.
Last Week's Pod:
Now, here is the official list with league names and countries which will guide you when you are riding with $EBR and looking for the leagues on the Barstool Sportsbook.
Honorable Mention: Swedish Allsvenskan, Poland, Ligue Magnus, Alps Hockey League
10. England - EIHL or Elite Ice Hockey League had to find a way into my top 10 not only cause of the level of play but, because our own Paul Bissonnette lit the league up in the 2012-2013 lockout season. Biz laced them up for the Cardiff Devils for 11 games and scored 6 goals, 11 assists, and surprisingly only 8 PIMS. Belfast Giants have been the top team the last few years led by coach Adam Keefe, brother to the Leafs’ man behind the bench.
9. Slovakia - Extraliga - A league not really heard about too much as Slovakia’s top players normally choose to play outside their home country. Take for example this year’s top NHL draft pick Juraj Slafkowvsky who played in Finland since he was 15 years old. A league where our buddy Drew Shore is #1 all-time in Points Per Game with 10 in 5 games could not be ranked any higher than this even though right below him on the list is the legend Zigmund Palffy.
8. Denmark - Metal Ligaen - A hockey country that has risen in the past few years, with more NHLers and a surprising 5th place finish in their group at the last world championships. Not enough homegrown talent to compete with the big leagues and salaries that will not draw in top-end imports put them at the bottom of the rankings.
7. Norway - Fjordkraft Ligaen - Norway is similar to Sweden in so many ways, not only in language and the astronomically high price of a beer but also in hockey style. Norwegians play a complete game like the Swedes, but just don't have the grown talent that Sweden does or the large salaries to pay imports to come to play. For these reasons, they drop to #7.
6. Austria - Ice Hockey League, I’m not sure who came up with this incredible name for the league but it definitely took next-level thinking. It’s listed as Austria as the majority of the teams are located in Austria, but it also includes teams in Italy, Hungary, and Slovenia. Red Bull Salzburg is the class of the league every year, due to the vast resources available playing in the home base of Red Bull Sports. The profits from the amount of Red Bull Biz drinks each TNT broadcasts now pay for a top-end import annually.
5. Germany - DEL, We are now in the top 5 and this is a major jump as we are now in the top tier of European hockey and the German league is definitely the most fun league to play in for imports. The level is strong because of all the imports, but salaries have dropped over the last 15 years so you are not getting the best talent like before. Teams can carry 10 foreigners and you kick off every season with a team trip to Oktoberfest which means picking out a Lederhosen for the big day!
4. Czech Republic - Extraliga is made up of mostly players from Czech and neighboring Slovakia but you will find a few imports mixed in. A strong league that will see its top scorer and top goalkeeper leave every season for the riches in Russia so it has a tough time climbing into my top 3.
3. Switzerland - NLA or National League A is the dream of every import leaving North America. First, the salaries are the highest you will find in Europe and the level of play is still pretty high without a ton of body contact which suits a veteran heading overseas. The other popular part of Swiss hockey is the road trips or lack thereof I guess. Most trips are under 2 hours and you will never spend a night in a hotel which can be both a positive or negative depending on the player. When I played in Swiss I would find a case of beer in my seat after every game which makes it one of my favorite places ever to play!
2. Finland - SM-Liiga is a league I never ended up playing in which is still kind of rattling because Helsinki is one of my favorite cities in Europe and I would have liked to spend a season there. Finnish hockey is probably closest to the NHL in terms of playing style because most of the arenas have NHL size rinks and the Finns love to play a physical intense style of game. The unique names and colors of these teams make it a must-follow all season.
1. Sweden - SHL or the Swedish Hockey League tops the list not only cause I played here for 3 years and currently live in Sweden but if you talk to any NHL scouts they will say the same. The Swedes as a whole play a complete 200-foot game and have a huge passion for playing on their hometown teams. The SHL attracts top import talent because of the fair salaries and the amazing living conditions here. Most Swedes are fluent in English and the cuisine and lifestyle are the closest you will find to the US in Europe. The 4 pm Saturday afternoon games with Sunday off were always a big positive on my pros and con list when deciding where to play. Now that ESPN+ has agreed to broadcast 130 SHL games across the globe we have even more of a reason to follow the league and make our biggest EBR plays.
Well there you have it, there's the official $EBR rankings of European hockey leagues that we will be firing bets on through the Barstool Sportsbook all season long. Leagues like Sweden and Germany will see most of our action, but when we receive a tip or see another great spot we will fire on the others to build the bankroll!
Murls’ Sneak Peak Play Of The Week:
Timrå IK Moneyline -155 vs. Linkoping Barstool Sportsbook
Side note: EBR should have "Boots on the Ground" for this game!!