blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: Kvalserien - Sweden's Inter-League Playoff

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kvalserien - Sweden's Inter-League Playoff

Arguably as popular as the SEL's championship playoff, Kvalserien boasts a six team battle royal for the right to play in the top league's next season.

Structured in round robin style, participating clubs face off against each team twice playing a total of ten games a piece. Amassing points in a 3/2/1/0 manner for regulation wins, overtime wins, overtime losses or a tie, and regulation losses, respectively, the pair with the most at tournament's end advances to Elitserien with the remainder relegated to the nation's second best league, HockeyAllsvenskan.

The annual Kvalserien sextet is comprised of the SEL's bottom two finishers and four teams from HockeyAllsvenskan. Of the latter four, three qualify automatically based on their regular season standings savvy with the fourth arriving as the winner of a two round best-of-seven playoff between finishers ranked 4th through 7th.

Of the 68 SEL teams sent to Kvalserien since 1976, only 31 (46%) have survived to return to Elitserien the following season. The majority (54%) have been bumped to HockeyAllsvenskan with a team from below taking their former SEL spot.

The beauty of this inter-league stress test resides in its honesty forcing Elitserien stragglers to earn their return whilst affording HockeyAllsvenskan achievers the chance to advance. There is no safety net or glass ceiling breaking one's fall or impeding their rise between these leagues. Prior promotees from the fateful series may be found here.