Halfway there: 16 teams qualified for CHL, 16 to go
Exactly half of the 32 spots for the 2017-18 Champions Hockey League season have been filled so far, but there's the potential for several teams to qualify in the coming week.
Click HERE to read which teams have qualified so far, and check back to see the progress of each league.
The Austrian EBEL is the only Founding League to have all three CHL spots filled, with KAC Klagenfurt joining perennial qualifiers Red Bull Salzburg and the Vienna Capitals.
In Germany, only one spot remains, with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers, Grizzlys Wolfsburg and Eisbaren Berlin all coveting it. Nuremberg and Wolfsburg face each other in the semi-finals and the winner of that will qualify for the CHL unless Die Eisbaren upset Red Bull Munich in the semi-finals and then win the DEL title. Both series are currently tied 1-1, with the third games going on Tuesday in Munich and Wednesday in Nuremberg.
In Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Sweden, two spots each remain. The Swiss and Czech leagues are in their semi-finals, while the SHL is still at the quarter-final stage.
From the Swiss NLA, HC Davos, EV Zug and HC Lugano are all in contention, with Davos and Zug facing each other in one semi-final and Lugano against defending champions SC Bern in the other. Currently, Bern lead Lugano 2-1, and if Bern win the series then Davos and Zug will both qualify, regardless of who wins their series – currently 2-1 Zug. If Lugano manage to come back and upset Bern, then they will qualify along with the winner of Davos–Zug. The fourth games of each series will be played on Tuesday in Davos and Lugano.
The Czech Extraliga semi-finals get underway this week, with Mountfield Hradec Kralove hosting Kometa Brno in Games 1 and 2 on Wednesday and Thursday, and defending champions Bili Tygri Liberec hosting Pirati Chomutov on Friday and Saturday. The winner of Hradec Kralove–Kometa will qualify and the loser might also, because they both finished higher in the regular season than Chomutov. Because they are the lowest seed remaining, Chomutov must upset Liberec and advance to the finals to qualify.
In Sweden, three teams that seek one of the two remaining qualifying spots are all on the verge of upsetting higher seeds to advance to the semi-finals. On Monday, the Malmo Redhawks and Skelleftea AIK both play at home with 3-2 series leads against the already-qualified Vaxjo Lakers and Frolunda Gothenburg. On Tuesday, Brynas Gavle do likewise against Linkoping HC, who will have to win two straight games to keep their CHL qualifying hopes alive.
Three spots are still up for grabs in Finland, with six teams in contention for them. All four quarter-final series are 2-1, with the fourth games being played on Monday.
From the Challenger Leagues, two teams from Great Britain have already qualified and four more of the remaining leagues are already in their finals, with the winners advancing to the CHL.
In Poland, GKS Tychy are just one game away from winning the title, leading defending champions Cracovia Krakow 3 games to 1. Game 5 will be played in Tychy on Wednesday. Meanwhile in neighbouring Belarus, Yunost Minsk and Neman Grodno – the two teams that have represented the country in the last two CHL seasons – remain. Neman have taken a huge step towards re-claiming the Belarusian title by winning the first two games in the nation's capital, with Games 3 and 4 being played in Grodno on Wednesday and Thursday. Another team that has reached its national finals is the Stavanger Oilers, who are looking for their sixth straight Norwegian title and fourth straight CHL appearance. They will open the final series at home against Frisk Asker on Saturday. In France, the Gap Rapaces and the Rouen Dragons will begin their final series on Tuesday in Gap.
The national leagues of Denmark and Slovakia are all still in their semi-finals.