Naisten Liiga (ice hockey)

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Naisten Liiga
Upcoming season or competition:
Hockey current event.svg 2021–22 Naisten Liiga season
Naisten Liiga logo 2020.png
FormerlyNaisten SM-sarja
Sport Ice hockey
Founded1982 (1982)
Inaugural seasonas Naisten SM-sarja,
as Naisten Liiga,
Administrator Finnish Ice Hockey Association
No. of teams10 in Preliminaries
6 in Regular season, 6 in Lower division series
CountryFlag of Finland.svg  Finland
Most recent
Most titlesKiekko-Espoo (15)
TV partner(s) Ruutu
Relegation to Naisten Mestis
International cup(s) European Women's Champions Cup
Official website

Naisten Liiga ('Women's League'), also called the Naisten SM-liiga (NSML) and Jääkiekon naisten SM-liiga ('Ice Hockey Women's Finnish Championship League'), is the elite league for women's ice hockey in Finland. Until 2017, it was called the Naisten SM-sarja ('Women's Finnish Championship Series'). [1] [2] The league has 12 total teams between two divisions and is organized by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association.


Kiekko-Espoo (previously “Espoo Blues” and “Espoo United”) has dominated Naisten Liiga in the 21st century, winning 15 Finnish Championships from 1999 to 2021. [3] Tampereen Ilves Naiset is the second most successful club, with 10 championship titles, and are the only organization to have iced a team in every season since the league's inception.

A majority of teams in Naisten Liiga share their names with men's professional teams in the Liiga or MestisHIFK, HPK, Ilves, KalPa, Kiekko-Espoo, Kärpät, RoKi, TPS, and Sport – but the women's teams have historically received few resources and limited promotion from the affiliated men's clubs. [4] In recent years progress has been made in building better relationships between the men's and women's teams; most men's clubs now provide some support to their women's counterparts by advertising games together or helping secure sponsorships. [5] [6]


2021–22 season

Finland adm location map.svg
Purple pog.svg
Purple pog.svg
Location of teams in the Naisten Liiga
TeamLocationHome venueHead coachCaptain
Stadin Gimmat
or HIFK Naiset
Helsinki.vaakuna.svg Helsinki Malmin jäähalli Saara Niemi
HPK Kiekkonaiset Hameenlinna.vaakuna.svg Hämeenlinna Jääliikuntakeskus Hakio Harri Nummela Riikka Noronen
Ilves Naiset Tampere.vaakuna.svg Tampere Tesoman jäähalli Linda Leppänen
KalPa Naiset Kuopio.vaakuna.svg Kuopio Niiralan Monttu Marjo Voutilainen
Kiekko-Espoo Naiset Espoo.vaakuna.svg Espoo Tapiolan harjoitusareena Sami Haapanen
Kärpät Naiset Oulu.vaakuna.svg Oulu Raksilan jäähalli Samuli Hassi
RoKi Naiset Rovaniemi.vaakuna.svg Rovaniemi Lappi Areena Tuomas Liitola
Sport Naiset Vaasa.vaakuna.svg Vaasa Vaasan Sähkö Arena
Team Kuortane Kuortane.vaakuna.svg Kuortane Kuortaneen jäähalli Mira Kuisma
TPS Naiset Turku.vaakuna.svg Turku Kupittaan jäähalli Terhi Mertanen

Past participants

Sources: [7] [8]


Season format

The season format of the Naisten Liiga has changed many times over the league's history. The format described here was introduced for the 2019–20 season. [9]


The preliminaries (Finnish : Alkusarja, lit. 'initial series') are played as a double round-robin plus a two-game Opening Weekend Tournament; each of the ten teams plays a total of twenty matches. Points are awarded by match outcome: three points for a regulation win, two points for an overtime win, one point for an overtime loss, and no points/zero points for a regulation loss. The points earned in the opening series determine which division a team will be sorted for the continuation of the season.

Regular season

The regular season, also called the upper division series (Finnish : Ylempi jatkosarja), is played by the top six teams from the preliminaries. Like the preliminaries, the series is played as a double round-robin, with each team playing a total of ten games. All six teams in the regular season are guaranteed placement in the playoffs; the cumulative points earned in the thirty games of the preliminaries and regular season are used to establish the teams' playoff berths, from first to sixth. Only points scored in the upper division series are considered when determining the players who will receive the Marianne Ihalainen Award, for most regular season points earned, and the Tiia Reima Award, for most regular season goals scored; players in the lower division series ineligible for the awards.

Lower division series

The bottom four teams from the preliminary series move on to the lower division series (Finnish : Alempi jatkosarja), where they are joined by the top two teams from the cross-qualifiers (Finnish : Ristiinkarsinta) of the Naisten Mestis, the league directly below Naisten Liiga. The lower division series teams compete for the seventh and eighth seed positions in the playoffs; only the top two ranked teams from the lower division earn placement in the playoffs. Unlike the regular season, all lower division teams start the divisional series with zero points, only points earned in the series are considered when the teams are ranked.


The lower division teams ranked third through sixth continue on to the qualifiers (Finnish : Karsintasarja). The points earned in the six qualifying series games are added to the points totals from the lower division series. The two teams with the highest point totals qualify for the following Naisten Liiga season, the two lower ranked teams are relegated to or remain in the Naisten Mestis for the following season.

Game format

A regulation game is sixty minutes in length, played over three 20-minute periods. In the event of a tie at the end of regulation time the winner is decided by a five-minute-length, three-skaters-per-side overtime period. If the game remains tied after the overtime period, the teams proceed to a shootout, in which each team designates three skaters to take penalty shots, one at a time, against the opposing goaltender. Teams alternate shots and each team takes one shot per round. The winner is the team with more goals after three rounds or the team that amasses an unreachable advantage before the third round. If the shootout is tied after three rounds, tie-breaker rounds are played one at a time until there is a winner.


All-time medal count

  – team currently in league

Team Gold medal icon.svg Silver medal icon.svg Bronze medal icon.svg
Kiekko-Espoo [lower-alpha 1] 1528
Tampereen Ilves 10126
Oulun Kärpät 377
Shakers Kerava 341
JYP Jyväskaylä [lower-alpha 2] 340
Helsingin Jääkiekkoklubi (HJK)211
Etelä-Vantaan Urheilijat (EVU)151
Hämeenlinnan Pallokerho (HPK)114
Kalevan Pallo (KalPa)013
Itä-Helsingin Kiekko (IHK)010
HIFK/Stadin Gimmat 003
Saimaan Pallo (SaiPa)001
Vaasan Sport 001
Team Kuortane 001


  1. Includes record of Espoo Blues, Espoo United, and Espoon Kiekkoseura (EKS)
  2. Includes record of JyP HT

Sources: [10] [11] [12]

Women's Finnish Champions by season

Naisten Liiga logo, 2017-2020 Logo Naisten Liiga.png
Naisten Liiga logo, 2017–2020
SeasonGold medal with cup.svg ChampionSilver medal with cup.svg Runner-upBronze medal with cup.svg Third Place
1982–83 HJK Helsinki Ilves Tampere EVU Vantaa
1983–84HJK HelsinkiEVU VantaaIlves Tampere
1984–85Ilves TampereEVU VantaaHJK Helsinki
1985–86Ilves TampereHJK Helsinki Vaasan Sport
1986–87Ilves TampereEVU Vantaa Shakers Kerava
1987–88Ilves TampereEVU Vantaa HIFK Helsinki
1988–89EVU VantaaIlves TampereHIFK Helsinki
1989–90Ilves TampereEVU Vantaa SaiPa Lappeenranta
1990–91Ilves TampereShakers Kerava EKS Espoo [lower-alpha 1]
1991–92Ilves TampereShakers KeravaEKS Espoo [lower-alpha 1]
1992–93Ilves TampereShakers Kerava Kiekko-Espoo
1993–94Shakers KeravaIlves TampereKiekko-Espoo
1994–95Shakers KeravaIlves Tampere KalPa Kuopio
1995–96Shakers Kerava Oulun Kärpät KalPa Kuopio
1996–97JyP HT Jyväskylä [lower-alpha 2] Shakers KeravaKiekko-Espoo
1997–98 JYP Jyväskylä Oulun KärpätKiekko-Espoo
1998–99 Espoo Blues [lower-alpha 1] JYP JyväskyläIlves Tampere
1999-2000Espoo Blues [lower-alpha 1] Oulun KärpätIlves Tampere
2000–01Espoo Blues [lower-alpha 1] Oulun KärpätIlves Tampere
2001–02Espoo Blues [lower-alpha 1] IHK Helsinki Oulun Kärpät
2002–03Espoo Blues [lower-alpha 1] Oulun KärpätIlves Tampere
2003–04Espoo Blues [lower-alpha 1] Ilves TampereOulun Kärpät
2004–05Espoo Blues [lower-alpha 1] Ilves TampereOulun Kärpät
2005–06Ilves TampereOulun KärpätEspoo Blues [lower-alpha 1]
2006–07Espoo Blues [lower-alpha 1] Oulun KärpätIHK Helsinki
2007–08Espoo Blues [lower-alpha 1] Ilves TampereOulun Kärpät
2008–09Espoo Blues [lower-alpha 1] Ilves Tampere HPK Hämeenlinna
2009–10Ilves TampereEspoo Blues [lower-alpha 1] HPK Hämeenlinna
2010–11HPK HämeenlinnaIlves TampereOulun Kärpät
2011–12Oulun KärpätIlves TampereHPK Hämeenlinna
2012–13Espoo Blues [lower-alpha 1] JYP JyväskyläOulun Kärpät
2013–14Espoo Blues [lower-alpha 1] JYP JyväskyläHPK Hämeenlinna
2014–15Espoo Blues [lower-alpha 1] JYP JyväskyläIlves Tampere
2015–16JYP JyväskyläHPK HämeenlinnaEspoo Blues [lower-alpha 1]
2016–17Oulun Kärpät Espoo United [lower-alpha 1] KalPa Kuopio
2017–18Oulun KärpätIlves TampereTeam Kuortane
2018–19Espoo Blues [lower-alpha 1] Ilves TampereOulun Kärpät
2019–20 [lower-alpha 3] Post-season cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.
2020–21 Kiekko-EspooKalPa KuopioHIFK Helsinki


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Included in record of Kiekko-Espoo
  2. Included in record of JYP
  3. The 2019–20 Naisten Liiga post-season was cancelled by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association on 12 March 2020, citing public health concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The Aurora Borealis Cup Finnish Championship finals between Kiekko-Espoo and KalPa and the Finnish Championship Bronze Medal games between Team Kuortane and Kärpät were scheduled to begin on 14 March 2020. With the cancellation of the season, neither the Aurora Borealis Cup nor any Finnish Championship medals were awarded for the 2019–20 season. [13]

Sources: [10] [11] [12] [14]

League records

All-time records of the Naisten SM-sarja and Naisten Liiga combined, from 1982 to 1983 through the conclusion of the 2020–21 season. [15] [16]

Single-season records

Career records

All-time scoring leaders

The top-ten point-scorers in Naisten SM-sarja/Naisten Liiga history. Statistics valid through conclusion of 2020–21 season. [15]

Note: Nat = Nationality; Pos = Position; S = Seasons played; GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game;   = player active in 2021–22 Naisten Liiga season

Flag of Finland.svg Riikka Noronen F 26625326437763428
Flag of Finland.svg Linda Välimäki Leppänen F 16332360342702176
Flag of Finland.svg Karoliina Rantamäki F 17376366314680102
Flag of Finland.svg Petra Vaarakallio F 13286280351631142
Flag of Finland.svg Tiia Reima F 20332330272602352
Flag of Finland.svg Marianne Ihalainen F 19323320282602152
Flag of Finland.svg Sari Fisk Marjamäki F 23401339253592158
Flag of Finland.svg Anne Helin F 14276327222549260
Flag of Finland.svg Annina Rajahuhta F 15325239298537240
Flag of Finland.svg Johanna Koivula F 21523205319524337

See also

Related Research Articles

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