National League A (NLA) is considered as the premier professional ice hockey league in Switzerland.
Before the 2007 - 08 season, the league was officially known as the Nationalliga A (German), (French: Ligue Nationale A (LNA), Italian: Lega Nazionale A).
The NLA boasts of the most attended hockey club in Europe - SC Bern. The NLA is also the most attended league in Europe - averaging 6,882 spectators for the 2016-17 season.
During the regular season, each of the 12 teams play 50 games. The top eight teams after the regular season qualify for the playoffs to determine the Swiss champion in best-of-seven series.
The bottom four teams in the standings play a relegation tournament, called playouts, in which each team retains their regular season points and play an additional 6 matches.
Following those matches, the two bottom ranked teams will play each other in a best-of-seven series, with the loser then playing the winner of the National League B playoffs in a best-of-seven series for a spot in the successive NLA season.
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