Five Elite League teams have become founding members of the Alliance of European Hockey Clubs (EHC) at a meeting in Berlin earlier this week.
Braehead Clan, Nottingham Panthers, Coventry Blaze, Cardiff Devils and Sheffield Steelers joined with 67 other teams to form the group which will look after the interests of the clubs and represent them internationally.
The CEO of Swiss champions SC Bern, Marc Lüthi, was elected president, while Panthers’ owner Neil Black joins the nine-man board.
Lüthi said: “This is an important day for the European hockey clubs. That 72 clubs signed up as provisional members leading up to Berlin is a clear signal that such an organization is needed.
“The biggest challenge the clubs are facing is economy. If all clubs were making money, or at least breaking even, we wouldn’t be having this meeting.
“By challenging others, but also ourselves, we want the EHC to contribute to making club hockey in Europe a sustainable business.
“The leading clubs of Europe pay around €375 million in salaries annually which makes a huge economic impact.
“They also contribute players to major events, but have until now not had a unified voice.
“The EHC should play the role of an employers’ organization and to be a challenging interest and pressure group.”