The Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) (English: German Ice Hockey League), is a German professional ice hockey league that was founded in 1994.
DEL replaced the defunct Eishockey-Bundesliga as the top-tier hockey league in Germany. Unlike the old Bundesliga, the DEL is not under the administration of the German Ice Hockey Federation. The DEL currently has the highest number of American and Canadian players outside North America.
During the 2015-16 season, the DEL was the second most watched league in Europe, behind the Swiss National League A, with an average attendance of 6,674 spectators per game.
Fourteen teams currently compete in the DEL. Each team plays a total of 52 games in the regular season. The top six teams directly qualify for the playoffs while the seventh to tenth ranked teams compete in a best of five series for two remaining playoff spots.
Each team can dress max 22 players and ice 10 foreign players (Kontigentspieler) - reduced from 12 in the 2008-09 season. Each team must dress a minimum of four players under 25 years old.
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