The hockey season is getting going in Europe. What are the league membership changes since last year?
Kontinental Hockey League. Vityaz Chekhov has relocated to Podolsk and become Vityaz Podolsk. An expansion team, Admiral Vladivostok, has been added in the Far East. Longtime Croatian hockey power KHL Medveščak Zagreb has signed up, adding Croatia to the Kontinental hockey empire.
Sweden. The Elitserien has changed its name to Svenska hockeyligan, or SHL for short. Leksands IF and Örebro HK gained promotion; Timrå IK and Rögle BK were relegated. With the promotion of IF Björklöven from Division 1, the HockeyAllsvenskan is now primarily made up of former Elitserien clubs, which should add to its prestige somewhat. Bud Holloway, the Canadian who won the Elitserien scoring title last season, has opted to remain with league champions Skellefteå rather than join the LA Kings who own his NHL rights.
Finland. The SM-Liiga is tough to get into. Last-place Ilves were able to hold off Mestis champions Jukurit in the promotion playoff, and so there is no change in SM-Liiga membership.
Switzerland. The NLA is also hard to get into, but Lausanne did it, knocking off SCL Tigers.
Germany. Hannover Scorpions are out. Schwenninger Wild Wings are in. This change came about through Schwenninger's purchase of Hannover's DEL license.
Czech Republic. No change, despite a new promotion playoff system that pits the bottom two clubs against the top two second tier clubs.
Slovakia. No change. MHC Mountfield held off Bardejov.
Austria. The Erste Bank Eishockey Liga lost KHL Medveščak Zagreb to the Kontinental Hockey League (above), but gained HC Bolzano, whom they lured away from the Italian league.