Potential step forwards in NIHL National returning to play

December 19, 2020

Last night the EIHA shared some great news for our plans to return to competitive play, when they announced that they had successfully secured from the government £1.2m for the three NIHL divisions. This has been down to the determined efforts of the EIHA Board, and in particular board member Andrew Miller who has worked tirelessly as our NIHL National liaison and in driving the funding application. We’d like to extend our thanks to Andrew and the Board for what they have achieved.

What we need to do now is to work through the detail to understand the form and allocation of the funding to model the impact that it will have on NIHL National clubs. This will involve looking at how the funding can be made available (e.g. through grants or loans), what needs to be put in place to draw down on it, and how much is available to each club.… Read the rest

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Amazing Streaming Series Support and What Happens Next?

December 4, 2020

The NIHL National Owners Group met earlier this week to reflect on the Streaming Series and discuss the potential next steps in our plans to return to competitive play. There was general agreement that the Streaming Series provided valuable insight into the viability of behind-closed-doors play, and was very well supported by fans from across the UK. It provided fantastic entertainment over the three weekends and the group would like to extend huge thanks to everyone involved, including the clubs, rink operators, streaming providers and fans. Well done to all three teams who took part.

Moving forward, we recognise that the world is changing and that there have been some positive developments in government guidance. Currently there are a number of NIHL National teams who are in Tier 2 areas which would potentially allow fans back in, subject to various rules and conditions, to watch games in person. There are also some in Tier 3 for which the restrictions are, at the moment, greater.… Read the rest

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Streaming Series Given Green Light To Go Ahead

November 2, 2020

Since the Prime Minister’s announcement on Saturday evening of a new lockdown phase for England, we have been working hard to determine the impact on the Streaming Series matches planned for later this month.  There has been tremendous co-operation and assistance from the rink operators – Planet Ice, GLL Better and iceSheffield and we are grateful for their help and support.  The EIHA has met this afternoon with UK Sport, Sport England and the Sport & Recreation Alliance following discussions with DCMS over the weekend to determine whether the series can go ahead given its Elite Sport status and the controls which have been put in place.

In summary, game on!  DCMS, EIHA, the rink operators and the owners and staff of MK Lightning, Swindon Wildcats and Sheffield Steeldogs are happy for the games to proceed on the current basis.  The rinks are able to accommodate the training and games for these fixtures due to the Elite level status which has been achieved through collaboration between all parties. … Read the rest

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NIHL hockey is back with the Streaming Series!

October 28, 2020

The NIHL National owners group has been collaborating extensively over the last few weeks, and working with the EIHA and rink operators towards the objective of getting our game back on the ice. We would like to put on record our thanks to the EIHA, Planet Ice, Ice Sheffield and GLL Better Leisure for the support of our clubs during this critical phase of our season planning. We’re delighted to share that we have created a small pilot series of games which will take place in November, so that we can gather information to feed into planning for a competitive season launch in early 2021.

This is how it’s planned to look:

  • 3 teams: Milton Keynes Lightning, Sheffield Steeldogs and Swindon Wildcats
  • No fans in-person attendance. Games will all be streamed on a high quality platform, with a broadly consistent experience across all fixtures and venues.  Tickets will be priced at £12, with a family ticket on an optional basis at £3 per additional viewer if more of you are watching together and feel you’d like to further support your club
  • Fixture dates:
    • 14 Nov – Swindon vs MK (18:15)
    • 15 Nov – Sheffield vs Swindon (17:30)
    • 21 Nov – MK vs Swindon (19:00)
    • 22 Nov – Swindon vs Sheffield (18:15)
    • 28 Nov – MK vs Sheffield (19:30)
    • 29 Nov – Sheffield vs MK (17:30)
  • Tickets are now on sale for all games, via the ticketing page or via your club’s web pages

Mark Johnson, Chair of the NIHL National owners group had this to say about the Streaming Series: “We have all been missing hockey, and have been overwhelmed by the level of support and interest fans of all teams across our league have shown. … Read the rest

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Planning for a restart: Important Update from NIHL Teams

September 9, 2020

Representatives of the ten NIHL National teams met online recently to continue our ongoing series of planning sessions and we would like to update you on progress so far.

We are pleased to confirm that we have all together agreed to set a target start date for the NIHL National league of 1st January 2021. In addition to this, there was collective agreement to aim to play hockey matches during late November and through December with a series of challenge games and a pre-season cup competition.  Details of the length of the regular season and the format of the cup competition and pre-season challenges will be shared once they are finalised.

Having these dates in the diary gives the opportunity for teams to start to put in place the arrangements needed to safely and effectively return to play.  It is important to note that these are planning dates, and are subject to a number of points being resolved before teams can take to the ice. … Read the rest

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NIHL Return to Play Planning

August 4, 2020

The management group representing the ten member teams of the National League have continued their Zoom meetings during the past 4 months, involving the EIHA’s Andrew Miller, to discuss the options in terms of resuming competitive hockey. The management group is a valuable forum for shared experiences and is being used to ensure a unified and consistent approach.

All eyes are of course on the announcements from central and local government, Sport England, rink operators and again the EIHA in respect of relaxation of the restrictions and the slowly growing attendances allowed at public events and the required precautions and procedures.

The ability for many rinks to be able to re-open “hopefully” 15th August is a welcome start and litmus test for the return to action planning. With that in mind the management group are to “meet” again around 29th August to discuss further, amongst other items:-

  • Updates on potential start dates for the 20/21 season.
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