Liiga hockey is the top professional hockey league within the region of Finland. Within the entire European region, this league holds as one of the top professional hockey leagues, and in fact comes in third place, from the rankings of the IIHF. Created in 1975, it replaced the old amateur league of SM-sarja, and since then the sport has never looked back because it was onwards and upwards since then. SM Liiga is not directly looked over and managed by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association, however, there is an agreement between the corporation. While the league did have the abbreviation of SM, it was dropped in 2013 for the name of Liiga singularity.
In total, there are 15 teams that play together within the Liiga hockey league and while all teams regularly compete one another within the season, there used to be relegation and automatic promotion for the quality of play between the Mestis, but since 2000 this structure of play became obsolete and championships were introduced in its stead, as a playout series across the seasons. You can live stream Liiga games for free and stay updated on all the action, as and when it happens. Below is an elaboration on the different teams, as well as what is predicted from them for the start of the season in the coming month of September.
Who are the top teams of Liiga?
Over the past six CHL seasons, 10 of the best teams from Finiish Liiga have participated within the elicit hockey leagues. JYP Jyväskylä is one of the top-performing amongst others, having reached the pinnacle previously, amongst the best. Fast forward to the last two seasons, we have selected and picked who we think will be the best Finnish teams of the ice hockey future. 2021 will most certainly showcase great ice hockey sportsmanship. While JYP are not on the top consistently, many bookmakers believe they may surprise us all and come out with some victories.
Mentioning one of the most liked teams, who are also holding multiple records over the past 6-7 years, JYP have managed to come 12th place on the all-time leader boards. Crowned as the champions of the CHL back in the 2017/18 season, they are the only non-Swedish team to ever have been able to pick up the trophy for themselves. They have impressively participated within 5 of the 6 seasons in the league thus far, and have also managed to make it to the playoffs too, in every single season. Within the fourth year of their participation in CHL, the Finnish club made an 8-1-4 and even managed to make it past the Växjö Lakers within the final, by a 2-0 score, therefore crowning themselves as champions.
Bookmakers around the world are holding fixture odds of around 51.00, for the chance that JYP could hold the cup for the SM Liiga season 2021/2022.
The TPS Turku team is just ahead of JYP, with an 11th position on the all-time leaderboards. Similarly, to JYP however, this team has managed to participate across 5 of the 6 seasons in the Champions League. You will also find that of those seasons, the TPS win percentage was greater than JYP, at a solid 60%, which certainly cannot be faulted at all. It was the season of 2016/17 that happened to be of the best performing seasons for TPS, as they managed to go from 4-2-0 within the entire series, and average at around 1.33 goals per game. The overall season had a 66.67%-win percentage. However, the 2018/19 season did not see TPS manage to make it past the group stage, which is down to luck more than anything.
TPS also missed out on the Liiga CHL playoffs and qualifiers, for 2019/20, which was the first time that ever happened since 2014/15.
Bookmakers around the world are holding fixture odds of around 9.00, for the chance that TPS could hold the cup for the SM Liiga season 2021/2022.
Tappara Tampere is the fourth-ranking team within the CHL and the all-time leader board.
They are the only Finnish team that have managed to qualify for every CHL season to date. While their performances have been quite patchy here and there, they have yet another opportunity this season to really make something of themselves.
Their best performance yet is in 2017/8, where they had a 75%-win rate and a penalty kill of over 90%. The season before this they happened to have an amazing 4.38 goal average, which is actually the best record of any CHL team to date in history. The question that everyone is asking up until today is, will Tappara Tampere make the top 8 spots this year, or no?
Bookmakers around the world are holding fixture odds of around 5.50, for the chance that Tappara Tampere could hold the cup for the SM Liiga season 2021/2022.
Kärpät Oulu is the top-ranking team that has managed to reel in the all-time statistics consistently year in-and year out. Oulu is the heavyweight team of Liiga. They have 8 season wins, as well as 7 CHL victories since the 2003/2004 seasons. Most of the best stars in hockey have come out of this team i.e. Jesse Puljujärvi and Sebastian Aho for example.
Oulu have never managed to achieve anything lower than 60% win statistics, and have managed to have all-time records such as 83.33% win statistics back in 2015/2016, where they were runners-up to the title. 2016/2017 was the least successful season thus far for this team, they still walked away with the best penalty percentage within the entire season altogether. While they were noticeably absent for the past season, many believe this team has what it takes to take the dominance of the 2020/2021 SM Liiga.
Bookmakers around the world are holding fixture odds of around 7.50, for the chance that Kärpät Oulu could hold the cup for the SM Liiga season 2021/2022.
Other fixture odds of teams within the Liiga are noted down below:
- HIFK Helsinki: 5.00
- Lukko Rauma: 5.00
- Llves Tampere: 10.00
- Pelicam Lahti: 21.00
- KooKoo Kouvola: 21.00
- Sport Vaasa: 41.00