Top flight hockey proposed for UK

Top flight hockey proposed for UK

Robert Newbolt02 Dec 2020Robert Newbolt»

At a meeting today it was confirmed that there is a possibility of top flight ice hockey in January.


Further to the United Kingdom government’s announcement that the Elite League has been included in the Winter Survival Package, talks are progressing about the possibility of when top-flight ice hockey could get back on the ice.

This would, however, only include clubs from England as the Scottish parliament is a separate entity.

So it would be players from Coventry Blaze, Guildford Flames, Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers with Cardiff Devils from Wales being also brought into the fold.

Now all this geographical stuff will mean little to people outside of Great Britain but please bear with me.

As was communicated on Thursday afternoon, Sport England has allocated £4 million in funding for the Elite League to resume, while the EIHL is working with the remaining five teams to understand what support will be available from the other devolved administrations. (I.e. Scotland and Northern Ireland)

“We are looking at dates for a January start as this part of the requirement of the funding” explained league chairman Tony Smith. “Obviously, we still have to be cautious and can't promise anything concrete, as a lot of our planning depends entirely on dealing with different agencies across the UK, but we are drawing up plans now about how we could get back on the ice playing competitive games at the beginning of 2021.

“With Great Britain in the elite group of the World Championships, we are time-limited regarding how long we can play until before we need to release national team players for the tournament. Realistically, knowing we need to finish in April means starting as soon as we can to schedule in enough games. He concluded:

“Things have moved fast since the UK government’s initial announcement, and we need them to keep doing so over the next fortnight to make sure that we have as long to play as possible."

The games would be streamed via a web cast to all fans as they wouldn’t be allowed to attend initially, who knows what a few months down the line and a vaccine will bring.

Everything regarding personnel is very much up in the air at the moment but the teams involved have made initial contact with players with regard to playing. They would be housed in a covid secure bubble (I hate that word) for twelve weeks, presumably in a hotel.

When more final news is forthcoming I will certainly let you know.

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