|Upcoming season or competition:|
2021–22 Naisten Liiga season
|Inaugural season||as Naisten SM-sarja,|
as Naisten Liiga,
|Administrator||Finnish Ice Hockey Association|
|No. of teams||10 in Preliminaries|
6 in Regular season, 6 in Lower division series
| Kiekko-Espoo |
|Most titles||Kiekko-Espoo (15)|
|TV partner(s)|| Ruutu |
|Relegation to||Naisten Mestis|
|International cup(s)||European Women's Champions Cup|
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').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.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 Mestis – HIFK, 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.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.
|Team||Location||Home venue||Head coach||Captain|
| Stadin Gimmat |
or HIFK Naiset
|Helsinki||Malmin jäähalli||Saara Niemi|
|HPK Kiekkonaiset||Hämeenlinna||Jääliikuntakeskus Hakio||Harri Nummela||Riikka Noronen|
|Ilves Naiset||Tampere||Tesoman jäähalli||Linda Leppänen|
|KalPa Naiset||Kuopio||Niiralan Monttu||Marjo Voutilainen|
|Kiekko-Espoo Naiset||Espoo||Tapiolan harjoitusareena||Sami Haapanen|
|Kärpät Naiset||Oulu||Raksilan jäähalli||Samuli Hassi|
|RoKi Naiset||Rovaniemi||Lappi Areena||Tuomas Liitola|
|Sport Naiset||Vaasa||Vaasan Sähkö Arena|
|Team Kuortane||Kuortane||Kuortaneen jäähalli||Mira Kuisma|
|TPS Naiset||Turku||Kupittaan jäähalli||Terhi Mertanen|
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.
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.
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.
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.
– team currently in league
|Helsingin Jääkiekkoklubi (HJK)||2||1||1|
|Etelä-Vantaan Urheilijat (EVU)||1||5||1|
|Hämeenlinnan Pallokerho (HPK)||1||1||4|
|Kalevan Pallo (KalPa)||0||1||3|
|Itä-Helsingin Kiekko (IHK)||0||1||0|
|Saimaan Pallo (SaiPa)||0||0||1|
|1982–83||HJK Helsinki||Ilves Tampere||EVU Vantaa|
|1983–84||HJK Helsinki||EVU Vantaa||Ilves Tampere|
|1984–85||Ilves Tampere||EVU Vantaa||HJK Helsinki|
|1985–86||Ilves Tampere||HJK Helsinki||Vaasan Sport|
|1986–87||Ilves Tampere||EVU Vantaa||Shakers Kerava|
|1987–88||Ilves Tampere||EVU Vantaa||HIFK Helsinki|
|1988–89||EVU Vantaa||Ilves Tampere||HIFK Helsinki|
|1989–90||Ilves Tampere||EVU Vantaa||SaiPa Lappeenranta|
|1990–91||Ilves Tampere||Shakers Kerava||EKS Espoo|
|1991–92||Ilves Tampere||Shakers Kerava||EKS Espoo|
|1992–93||Ilves Tampere||Shakers Kerava||Kiekko-Espoo|
|1993–94||Shakers Kerava||Ilves Tampere||Kiekko-Espoo|
|1994–95||Shakers Kerava||Ilves Tampere||KalPa Kuopio|
|1995–96||Shakers Kerava||Oulun Kärpät||KalPa Kuopio|
|1996–97||JyP HT Jyväskylä||Shakers Kerava||Kiekko-Espoo|
|1997–98||JYP Jyväskylä||Oulun Kärpät||Kiekko-Espoo|
|1998–99||Espoo Blues||JYP Jyväskylä||Ilves Tampere|
|1999-2000||Espoo Blues||Oulun Kärpät||Ilves Tampere|
|2000–01||Espoo Blues||Oulun Kärpät||Ilves Tampere|
|2001–02||Espoo Blues||IHK Helsinki||Oulun Kärpät|
|2002–03||Espoo Blues||Oulun Kärpät||Ilves Tampere|
|2003–04||Espoo Blues||Ilves Tampere||Oulun Kärpät|
|2004–05||Espoo Blues||Ilves Tampere||Oulun Kärpät|
|2005–06||Ilves Tampere||Oulun Kärpät||Espoo Blues|
|2006–07||Espoo Blues||Oulun Kärpät||IHK Helsinki|
|2007–08||Espoo Blues||Ilves Tampere||Oulun Kärpät|
|2008–09||Espoo Blues||Ilves Tampere||HPK Hämeenlinna|
|2009–10||Ilves Tampere||Espoo Blues||HPK Hämeenlinna|
|2010–11||HPK Hämeenlinna||Ilves Tampere||Oulun Kärpät|
|2011–12||Oulun Kärpät||Ilves Tampere||HPK Hämeenlinna|
|2012–13||Espoo Blues||JYP Jyväskylä||Oulun Kärpät|
|2013–14||Espoo Blues||JYP Jyväskylä||HPK Hämeenlinna|
|2014–15||Espoo Blues||JYP Jyväskylä||Ilves Tampere|
|2015–16||JYP Jyväskylä||HPK Hämeenlinna||Espoo Blues|
|2016–17||Oulun Kärpät||Espoo United||KalPa Kuopio|
|2017–18||Oulun Kärpät||Ilves Tampere||Team Kuortane|
|2018–19||Espoo Blues||Ilves Tampere||Oulun Kärpät|
|2019–20||Post-season cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.|
|2020–21||Kiekko-Espoo||KalPa Kuopio||HIFK Helsinki|
All-time records of the Naisten SM-sarja and Naisten Liiga combined, from 1982 to 1983 through the conclusion of the 2020–21 season.
The top-ten point-scorers in Naisten SM-sarja/Naisten Liiga history. Statistics valid through conclusion of 2020–21 season.
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
|Linda Välimäki Leppänen||F||16||332||360||342||702||176|
|Sari Fisk Marjamäki||F||23||401||339||253||592||158|
Kiekko-Espoo is an ice hockey club in Espoo, Finland. Its representative team, Kiekko-Espoo Naiset, plays in the Naisten Liiga, the premier women's ice hockey league in Finland. The team was founded as Espoon Kiekkoseura (EKS) in 1989 and has also been known as Espoo Blues Naiset and Espoo United Naiset during its tenure in the Naisten Liiga and its predecessor, the Naisten SM-sarja. Kiekko-Espoo have won the Aurora Borealis Cup as the Finnish Champions in women's ice hockey fifteen times, five more wins than any other team in league history; at least one Finnish Championship medal was won under each of the four names.
The national program for women's ice hockey in Finland had 5,858 active players in 2019. The Finnish Ice Hockey Association organizes both the national women's program and the three levels of domestic women's leagues in Finland.
Emma Nuutinen is a Finnish ice hockey player and member of the Finnish women's national ice hockey team. She most recently played with Kiekko-Espoo of the Naisten Liiga (NSML).
The U20 SM-sarja is the premier junior men’s ice hockey league in Finland. It was previously known as the A-nuorten SM-sarja during 1945 to 1991 and the Nuorten SM-liiga during 1991 to 2020. The league was founded by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association in 1945 and a Finnish Champion in men’s under-20 ice hockey has been named annually since the league’s inaugural season – with the exception of the 2019–20 season, in which the playoffs were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eighteen to twenty teams compete in the U20 SM-sarja regular season, which is played in a preliminary ranking stage followed by a divisional or group stage.
Ella Viitasuo is a Finnish ice hockey player and alternate captain for Kiekko-Espoo of the Naisten Liiga. She has been a member of the Finnish national ice hockey team since 2014.
Elisa Holopainen is a Finnish ice hockey winger and member of the Finnish national team, currently playing with Kiekko-Espoo of the Naisten Liiga (NSML). She is one of the most dominant players active in the Naisten Liiga and has received the Naisten Liiga trophy for Player of the Year twice, Best Forward three times, and is a four-time All-Star – all before her twentieth birthday.
Ice hockey is the most popular sport in Finland in terms of television viewership and game attendance figures. It is third most popular sport in participation amongst children. As of 2020, approximately 1.3% of the Finnish population was registered with the International Ice Hockey Federation, ranking Finland second in the world for percentage of population participating in ice hockey and the highest percentage of any country outside of North America.
The Aurora Borealis Cup is the trophy awarded to the women's ice hockey Finnish Champion, the victorious team of the Naisten Liiga playoffs. The Aurora Borealis Cup was created to honor the quality of play in Naisten Liiga and as a symbol of support in the promotion of women's ice hockey.
HPK Kiekkonaiset are an ice hockey team in the Naisten Liiga (NSML), the premier women's hockey league in Finland. They are the representative women’s team of the club Hämeenlinnan Pallokerho (HPK), based in Hämeenlinna, Kanta-Häme, Finland. HPK was the first team to be awarded the Aurora Borealis Cup as the winner of the Finnish Championship in 2011.
Naisten Mestis is the second-highest women's ice hockey league in Finland. The league was founded as Naisten I-divisioona in 1985 by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association when the number of teams playing in the Naisten SM-sarja was limited. It was renamed Naisten Mestis prior to the 2012-13 season.
The 2019–20 Naisten Liiga season was the thirty-seventh season of the Naisten Liiga, the premier level of women's ice hockey in Finland, since the league’s establishment in 1982.
Riikka Noronen is a Finnish ice hockey forward and current captain of HPK Kiekkonaiset of the Naisten Liiga. She is the all-time leading point scorer in the Naisten Liiga and holds the records for youngest player to ever play in the league and for most career games played.
The Riikka Nieminen Award is an ice hockey trophy, seasonally awarded by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association to the Naisten Liiga Player of the Year. It is named after Riikka Sallinen, now retired, who is widely considered the best European women’s ice hockey player to ever compete internationally.
The 2020–21 Naisten Liiga season was the thirty-eighth season of the Naisten Liiga, Finland's elite women's ice hockey league, since the league’s creation in 1982. The season began, as scheduled, on 5 September 2020, making the Naisten Liiga the first women's national ice hockey league in Europe and, quite likely, in the world to return to play for the 2020–21 season.
The Karoliina Rantamäki Award is an ice hockey trophy awarded by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association to the playoff MVP of the Naisten Liiga, called the Naisten SM-sarja during 1982 to 2017. The Naisten SM-sarja Playoff MVP trophy was first awarded in the 1999–2000 season and the first recipient was forward Kati Kovalainen of the Espoo Blues Naiset.
The Emma Laaksonen Award is an ice hockey trophy awarded by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association to the fair play player of the year of the Naisten Liiga, called the Naisten SM-sarja until 2017. The award recognizes the player who best contributes to their team while "playing fair," that is to say, incurring very few penalties. Winners typically exceed one point per game and are issued fewer than 10 penalty minutes (PIM) over a full season. It is named after defenceman Emma Terho, former captain of the Finnish women's national ice hockey team and current general manager of Kiekko-Espoo. Despite being named after a defenceman, the trophy has only ever been awarded to forwards.
The Sari Fisk Award is an ice hockey trophy awarded by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association to the player with the best plus–minus at the end of the regular season of the Naisten Liiga, called the Naisten SM-sarja until 2017.
JYP Naiset or JYP Jyväskylä Naiset is a Finnish ice hockey team in the Naisten Mestis. Their home is the Jyväskylän harjoitusjäähalli in Jyväskylä, Central Finland. JYP Naiset have won the Aurora Borealis Cup three times, in 1997, 1998, and 2016.
The 2021 Aurora Borealis Cup playoffs or the 2021 Naisten Liiga playoffs is the playoff tournament of the 2020–21 Naisten Liiga season. The Naisten Liiga playoffs began on 3 March and the Aurora Borealis Cup was awarded to Kiekko-Espoo, the 38th Finnish Champion in women's ice hockey, on 25 March.
The 2021–22 Naisten Liiga season will be the thirty-ninth season of the Naisten Liiga, the premier level of women's ice hockey in Finland, since the league's establishment as the Naisten SM-sarja in 1982. The season began on 11 September 2021.