Since last week it is official that there will be two new teams in the National League B, the Ticino Rockets and EVZ Academy. This could decrease the competition in the NLB even more, and would probably result in two groups in the standings. At the moment there are 3 teams in the standings that separate themselves from the rest and these teams are the GCK Lions, EHC Wintherthur and Hockey Thurgau. Wintherthur has joined the league for this season and clearly can’t keep up with the rest of the teams (24 points). The second team, the GCK Lions (36 points), which is the farmteam of the ZSC Lions is also 14 points behind the next rank in the standings, Hockey Thurgau. Thurgau though is also 8 points behind the main field of the NLB teams. This makes us wonder. Would it be better for Farmteams, to be in a separate league, to increase the contest in the National League B?
4 teams that would have to change the league!
- GCK Lions (Farmteam ZSC Lions)
- Hockey Thurgau (Farmteam HC Davos from next season onwards)
- EVZ Academy (Farmteam EV Zug from next season onwards)
- Ticino Rockets (Farmteam of HC Ambri-Piotta and HC Lugano)
(EHC Winterthur not included, because they don’t have a partnership with a NLA team)
These four teams will play in the National League B from next season on and are getting financed by their NLA partner team, which makes it impossible for them to go bankrupt, due to their bad performances compared to the top NLB teams (EHC Visp, SC Langenthal, EHC Olten etc.).
A league like the AHL
We think that these four teams should be put in a separate new league, where every NLA team needs to set their own Farmteam. This would be a chance for all the teams that haven’t got a farmteam to create one for their own. This league would be for their Elite youth players and the players that aren’t in the roster for the NLA team, due to their performances or because of to many foreign player licences. This league would than exist separate to the National League format with 12 teams in it and are connected to their National League A partner teams. If a team would have to change into the NLB, its farmteam spot, in this separate league, would than be overtaken by the newly qualified National League A team (without the players of the team that got relegated into the NLB). A partnership with a National League B team would than be forbidden, to increase the strength of its teams.
Target: increase the competition in the National League B!
These measures could improve the contest in the NLB and would be a chance for all the National League A teams to have their own farmteam, where they could develop their best youth players and the redundant players of their roster. Still there would be a lot of administrativ problems that would need to be solved, if this idea would be implemented. Also the EHC Wintherthur, which is the worst NLB team at the moment, couldn’t be fitted into this new format, because it doesn’t belong to any other team.