The league operated under a variety of names before taking that of its championship trophy, the Magnus Cup, in 2004. The trophy was in turn named for Frenchman and IIHF founder Louis Magnus.
12 teams play a 44-game regular season. The schedule is fully balanced and there are no geographic conferences. Regulation wins are worth 3 points, as per international rules. The top 8 teams qualify for the Magnus Cup playoffs, with all series contested in a best-of-seven format. The remaining 4 teams play a 6-game round-robin, at the end of which the last-place team is relegated.
The Magnus Cup champions qualify for the following season's Champions Hockey League. All Ligue Magnus teams also take part in the French Cup.