New format for National Ice Hockey League.

New format for National Ice Hockey League.

12 Jun 2019 | Robert Newbolt
 

The second tier of British hockey is to undergo a re-vamp from season 2019-2029. The new ten-team national division will sit above the long-standing Divisions One and Two, which will continue to be regionalised into North and South.

 
 
 
 

NIHL: NATIONAL

There is to be a National hockey league (NIHL) with ten teams split existing league because the.  This is, in effect, a breakaway group because the ten teams have gradually become stronger making the other league un-workable; so, Telford Tigers, MK Lightning, Sheffield Steeldogs, Hull Pirates, Leeds Chiefs, Swindon Wildcats, Bracknell Bees, Basingstoke Bison, Peterborough Phantoms and London Raiders will make up a new league.

At the end of the regular season, the top eight teams from the overall standings will qualify for the playoffs.  These will play in two groups of four, one home and one away game, with the groups being 1st-4th-5th-8th and 2nd-3rd-6th-7th.  The top two sides from the groups will qualify for the finals weekend in Coventry.

There will also be a National Cup where the first home game for each club against the nine other clubs will count towards the qualifying standings.  The top four sides from this table will qualify for cup semi finals.  The highest placed qualifier will choose their semi final opponent, with the two remaining sides also matching up.  The Cup should have reached at least the semi final stage by the end of the calendar year.

The season will likely begin on September 14/15 and it was confirmed the NIHL National will continue with the same ‘import’ rules as last year.  Teams can dress two ‘imports’ with only one being allowed on the ice at any one time.

The existing NIHL will be split into two conferences with the titles of NIHL: Division 1 – North and NIHL: Division 1 – South.

The teams in the North will be Solway Sharks, Whitley Warriors, Solihull Barons, Blackburn Hawks, Sutton Sting, Billingham Stars and Nottingham Lions.

Whereas the South, a larger group of ten teams will be made up from Invicta Dynamos, Streatham IHC, MK Thunder, Cardiff Fire, Slough Jets, Bracknell Hornets, Raiders 2, Solent Devils, Oxford City Stars and Chelmsford Chieftains.

This league will also have a Cup competition and play offs of a similar format to the NIHL.

Then we move onto the third tier of ice hockey NIHL 2 (North and South). This will be made up from the following sides:

Widnes Wild, Telford Tigers 2, Hull Jets, Bradford Bulldogs, Sheffield Senators, Coventry Blaze, Deeside Dragons, Altrincham Aces, Blackburn Hawks 2, Guildford Phoenix, Bracknell IHC 3, Bristol Pitbulls, Peterborough Phantoms 2, Invicta Mustangs, Haringey Huskies, Basingstoke Buffalo, Swindon Wildcats 2, Lee Valley Lions, Streatham Bruins, Solent Devils 2, Cardiff Fire 2.

These teams will be split regionally (North and South)

There will be a South 2 Cup this season which will culminate in a Cup Final Weekend


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