Ice Hockey Championship
Current season, competition or edition:|
2017-18 AVILU season
February 11, 1936,|
|No. of teams||14|
|Most recent champion(s)||tbd (xxth title)|
The Ice Hockey Championship (Shaelic: Aviatau Lubefara), also known as The Pinnacle League (Aviatau Fežara) or The Pinnacle Motors League (Baeoa Fežada Loaras) for sponsorship reasons, and commonly referred to as AVILU, is the country's premier professional ice hockey league, and the top level of the Shaelia ice hockey system. The 14-team league is widely regarded as the best hockey league in the world outside of North America’s National Hockey League. It employs players from both North America and Europe, but approximately 70% of the league's rosters are comprised of domestically-born talent. During the 2016-17 season, the AVILU averaged more than 8,200 fans per game, with an average player salary of more than $366,000 USD per year
Teams play anywhere from 4-6 preseason games during training camps.
Teams play a double round-robin schedule of 52 games during the regular season, meaning each team will play every other team in the league four times (twice at home and twice on the road). Teams play three 20-minute periods, followed by a 10-minute 4-on-4 overtime period, if the score is tied after regulation time. Teams are awarded two points for a victory (regulation or overtime), one point for a tie, and no points are awarded for a loss (regulation or overtime). One bonus point is awarded to any team scoring six or more goals in a game, regardless of the result. Teams are ranked in the league table first by total points accumulated, then goals scored, goals conceded, and finally head-to-head record (points earned, goals scored, and lastly goals conceded).
The top eight teams in the regular season table enter the Feža Cup playoffs. They are paired according to position (1v8, 2v7, 3v6, 4v5), with all rounds comprised of best-of-seven series (2-2-1-1-1). The winner of the Feža Cup is considered the national champion.
Teams finishing 9-12 in the regular season table enter the Aebo Cup playoffs. They are paired according to position (9v12, 10v11), with the first round being a best-of-five series (2-2-1), and the Aebo Cup finals being a best of seven series (2-2-1-1-1).
At the end of every regular season, the 13th and 14th place teams in the AVILU table are entered into the Būgacoða ("Challenge Series") with the top two teams from ML1. Teams play a best-of-seven series (2-2-1-1-1), and are paired according to position in their respective tables (AVILU 14 vs. ML1 1; AVILU 13 vs. ML1 2), with AVILU clubs receiving the higher seeding. The winner of each series plays in the AVILU for the proceeding season, with the losers competing in ML1.