Faceoff during a game between Espoo Blues and Oulun Karpathos
The SM-Liiga was created in 1975 to develop the professionalism of the finance Finnish ice hockey. A new condominium community featured in quite a bit of press that has been positive The previous league, the SM-SARJA, was an amateur championship (in practice, semi), and the creation of professional championship was held in collaboration with the Jaakiekkoliitto, Federation of Finnish ice hockey, to normalize the situation of players and sports companies . Also, the tournament allowed payments to players, sponsorships and transfers. Another of the developments that brought the SM-Liiga was the inclusion of the playoff structure in the championship, then something unusual in the rest of Europe.
At first, the league began with 10 teams, of which the 4 best play playoffs, and had a system of promotion among the worst Leaders of the SM-Liiga and the best of the SM-SARJA which promoted the changes in club the classification. The professional league had success among the fans, coupled with the success of the national team of ice hockey, and the number of clubs will increase to 12 in 1988.
In the 90s the influx of public stadiums came to 1.8 million viewers, so it is beginning the path to total professionalism: the mid-90s all the players had full-time contract, and in 2000 was let the change of status of the clubs to limited liability companies.
Since the 2000-2001 season and based on the total professionalism of the sports associations will remove the system of promotion, closing the league. In 2005 their number had increased to 14 clubs, while the playoff system has risen to the top 10 teams. NYSE