Ice hockey (Lubefa) is one of the most popular sports in Shaelia, ranking only behind Shaelic football as the most watched sport in the country. It is played at all levels around the country, from youth through professional.
Nationally, the sport of ice hockey is organized by the Ðose Lubefara Šaeleaneiri (ÐLŠ, “Shaelia Ice Hockey Federation”), founded in 1923. Shaelia’s men’s and women’s national teams have consistently been ranked in the Top 10 by the IIHF.
The 14-team Aviatau Lubefara (“Ice Hockey Championship”), known as Aviatau Fežara (“The Pinnacle Championship”) or Baeoa Fežada Loaras (“The Pinnacle Motors League”) for sponsorship reasons, and commonly referred to as AVILU, is the nation’s most prestigious competition. It is also sometimes called Kíra Baeoa (“The Pinnacle League”). It was established in 1936 and enjoys widespread popularity throughout the country. The AVILU is widely regarded as the best hockey league in the world outside of North America’s National Hockey League, and employs players from both North America and Europe. Approximately 70% of the league’s rosters are comprised of domestically-born talent. The league has a system of promotion/relegation in place with the second tier ML1, and up to two teams per season may be replaced. During the 2014-15 season, the AVILU averaged more than 10,000 fans per game, with the average player salary at more than $431,000 USD per year.