New League Format Playing Its Part
Another week is over in the EIHL and the Manchester Storm are still on top of the EIHL table. It is somewhat of a surprise given the side scrapped into the playoffs last year and the upheaval they faced with new owners and coach coming in in the summer. It is hard to say they are contenders yet though. Due to the new league format the side have not had many games against the big boys however a win in Cardiff and at home against Belfast suggest show some promise as opposed to their cup form.
And we may have to wait to find out whether or not Manchester or someone else is going to be the title contender. And the reason is the new EIHL structure. The addition of 2 teams has changed the make up of the season in a way that has pitted sides against each other on fewer occasions.
The result is we may have to wait until December 16th when Manchester face Nottingham in the league until the league leaders face another top 3 side (currently 4 points back) and until 30th December before the current top 2 meet in in the league. That makes those games a mouth watering prospect with fewer changes to redeem matters for the team that loses.
It also puts a new pressure on other games. With less games between teams in different conferences if you want to stay ahead you must win every game or be reliant on other teams being your rivals.
The format is not perfect for deciding a champion with teams not playing each other an even number of times but if it keeps the title race open then it is a positive thing. Time will tell if the Manchester Storm are a title contender this season but it will be close till we can find out.