Your 2021/22 NIHL National fixtures are here!

July 21, 2021

As we mentioned last week, the key season dates are:

  • Pre-season fixtures (optional for teams): 4/5 September and 11/12 September
  • Cup: Friday 17th September to Sunday 10th October
  • League: Friday 15th October to Sunday 3rd April
  • Playoffs: 9/10 April, 16/17 April, 23/24 April
  • Coventry Finals Weekend: 31 April / 1st May

The cup competition begins with Leeds, Swindon, Basingstoke and MK at home on Saturday 18th, and Bees, Telford, Peterborough and Raiders at home on Sunday 19th.

The 9 team structure also sees the introduction of some Friday fixtures, which will be an exciting start to the weekend, as well as some mid-week matches which have aimed to align with school half terms as much as possible.

We are hugely excited by this next step towards the start of the season.  Check out the full fixture list here.

For team by team fixtures, please see here

Thank you all for your amazing support. … Read the rest


NIHL National Owners agree league structure and dates

April 30, 2021

Last week the NIHL National Owners Group met to agree the structure and timings for the upcoming 2021/22 season.  Working on the basis that the government plans for bringing restrictions to an end broadly follow the published timetable we’re delighted to share that competitive fixtures will begin with a cup competition on 4th September 2021.

Here’s the full details, subject to final planning and confirmation:

  • Cup Competition from 4/5th September to 25/26th September
  • League from 2/3rd October to 2/3rd April 2022
  • PlayOffs 9/10th to 23/24th April 2022
  • Coventry Weekend 30th April 2022

The Cup Competition will be optional and its structure will be finalised once there is an agreed list of participants.  Prior to that, teams are free to organise pre-season fixtures as they wish.

The 10 teams all reconfirmed their commitment to participate in the upcoming season, and we agreed to keep the conference system and allocations in line with the 2019/20 season, as follows:

Hull PiratesBasingstoke Bison
Leeds IHCBees
Milton Keynes LightningPeterborough Phantoms
Sheffield SteeldogsSwindon Wildcats
Telford TigersRaiders

Teams will play conference opponents 4 times home and away, and teams from the other conference twice home and away for a planned total of 52 games across 27 weekends.… Read the rest


2020/21 Season Complete. NIHL National Owners say ‘Game On’ for September

April 7, 2021

The end of March saw the conclusion of the Spring Cup which was a fantastic online showcase of hockey, great entertainment and a deserved overall victory for the Sheffield Steeldogs.  Congratulations to all involved. The five clubs who participated looked carefully at the options to continue playing into April and May, but have decided that this is not possible. We would like to thank our fans, rink operators, EIHA and Andrew Miller for their support in making the Spring Cup a success. 

Following on from that series, the NIHL Owners Group has been working together and has agreed that we are now planning and preparing to play the 2021/22 season.  This is a great moment as we start to move on from survival mode into taking the steps back towards more normality in our game.

To the owners, it feels like cooperation and communication between us has never been higher, and this has allowed us to make meaningful progress on the key activities not only to bring our game back, but also to look at sustainability and the long term future of our sport

In that focus on sustainability, we have agreed in principle a wage cap which will set the foundations for our long term future whilst building on the exciting on-ice action we saw in our last full season. … Read the rest


NIHL Spring Cup

February 2, 2021

The NIHL National owners group has been working hard with the EIHA and rink operators over the past months to determine options for returning to play. We are hugely grateful for the collaboration, support and teamwork across all these groups and today we’d like to confirm our plans going forward.

Phase one of the Return to Play process will see five teams taking part in a National League Spring Cup during February and March.  This competition will see 2 of the Streaming Series teams (Sheffield and Swindon) joined by the Bees, Raiders and Telford Tigers.  Here’s the details:

  • 5 teams playing each other home and away over 7 weekends each team playing each other 3 times for a total of 12 games each 
  • All games to be played behind closed doors, with streaming where facilities are available
  • Points to be allocated using the usual league rules, with the top placed team at the end of the series awarded the cup If fixtures cannot be played as scheduled, the teams in conjunction with the EIHA will determine the appropriate award or rescheduling of the game. 
Read the rest

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


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


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


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


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


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.
Read the rest