BUT . . . the (IMO) wholly unfair situation where winners of a 2 country competition (LV) get an HC place, is simply bollicks.
Actually this is not true.
IF the winner is an AP club, then that club gets one of the AP places.
If the winner is a Welsh club then then this doesn't apply - although this doesn't matter as they probably qualified automatically anyway.
Do agree about the automatic qualification of so many ML clubs - especially Zebre, who didn't exist until a few days ago and haven't yet played any matches.