30 years ago, the playoffs where introduced to the National League A and this system changed our league forever. The playoffs made the National League a more competitive league and have increased the amount of spectators over the past years quite considerably. Before that the teams used to find their champion with the league system, which still gets used by most football leagues all over the world. But what would change if we had the league system back in Switzerland?
Most likely, our league will get similar to the Super League (football), where one team basically dominates the whole league. This due to a huge budget and an expensive roster. Still there would most likely be more competition within the NLA. Our Natinal League has more competitive teams than the Super League and this would help to find different champions.
But even if hockey is more competitive than Football, it would still lead the ZSC Lions to win the Championship over the past three years! Currently they are also leading this season and this would add the fourth Championship title within four years. This shows us how boring a league can be with the league system excluding the playoffs.
This is why we have adopted the playoffs from North America, it makes the league far more interessting and increases the number of spectators. Many years ago, the end of the season usually was the time of the lowest amount of spectators, this because the league usually already was sure to be won by the most fortunate team. The playoffs changed that! The new system has helped underdog teams like Bern (last season) to win the national Championship, even though they have had a bad regular season.
It can be argued if this is the best way to find a champion, this because Bern was crap during the regular season and didn’t deserve the title if one takes a look at their regular season. The playoffs seem to reset these circumstances after the regular season, but are they really?
The answer is no! Usually a team above rank five after the regular season wins the championship, due to at least one home advantage during the playoffs. Only a handful of teams where able to win the league from the last ranks over the past thirty years.
Bottom line, the playoffs are a good way to get a huge amount of spectators into the arenas at the end of the season and gives smaller teams the chance to win the Championship, while playing their very best during the playoffs. The old league system therefore would help major teams like Zurich, Davos and Bern to win more titles and would deny the chances for less fortunate teams like Lausanne or Fribourg and this would make our league much more dull then it is now.