NEW STRUCTURE FOR NATIONAL LEAGUE AGREED BY CLUBS TO START 2019/20 SEASON

The English Ice Hockey Association are pleased to announce that there will be a new structure of the men’s senior league for the 2019/20 season.

At a meeting of NIHL clubs in Warwickshire today the creation of a new
ten-team division was approved to sit above the existing Division 1 in
North and South.

The National League will comprise Basingstoke Bison, Bracknell Bees, Hull
Pirates, Leeds, MK Lightning, Peterborough Phantoms, Raiders, Sheffield
Steeldogs, Swindon Wildcats and Telford Tigers,

The remaining leagues also had their proposed membership approved at the meeting.

South Division 1: Invicta Dynamos, MK Thunder, Streatham, Chelmsford
Chieftains, Solent Devils, Slough Jets, Oxford City Stars, Bracknell Hornets, Raiders Juniors. A tenth team is to be confirmed.

North Division 1: Solway Sharks, Whitley Warriors, Solihull Barons, Sutton Sting, Blackburn Hawks, Billingham Stars, Nottingham Lions. An eighth team is to be confirmed.

A separate North Cup competition will also take place featuring MurrayfieldRacers and Dundee Comets from the Scottish National League. Full details of this competition will be confirmed in due course.

South Division 2: Guildford Phoenix, Bristol Pitbulls, Cardiff Fire,
Peterborough Phantoms 2, Haringey Huskies, Invicta Mustangs, Basingstoke
Buffalo, Swindon Wildcats 2, Lee Valley Lions, Solent 2, Streatham 2.

North Division 2: Widnes Wild, Hull Jets, Sheffield Senators, Bradford
Bulldogs, Coventry Blaze, Dragons, Altrincham Aces, Blackburn Hawks 2,
Telford Tigers 2.

The director of the EIHA Senior Leagues, Paul Hayes, said: “Today was a
very positive meeting and the conclusion of several weeks of consultation
and dialogue between the league management and our clubs.

“The structure agreed today is something of a step back to move forward,
but it will be a sustainable model at all three levels with competitive
games in all divisions.

“Myself and the NLMG are grateful to the clubs for their patience, support
and input into the process and we look forward to an exciting end to our
current NIHL season and starting work towards 19/20.”

The league will release more details about the respective divisions as well
as hearing from some of the clubs involved over the next few days.

Speaking on behalf of the YKK Widnes Wild, Matt Lloyd said, 

“The YKK Widnes Wild welcome the new NiHL league structure agreed today and believe it will deliver a robust and competitive league structure which will benefit ice hockey throughout the UK.  The Wild are keen to see the leagues evolve and look for competitive opportunities to develop whilst supporting the long term sustainability of both existing and future teams.”

“Whilst I appreciate some fans may be disappointed that the Wild are not in North Division 1, partly because there is no automatic promotion or relegation this season, the Wild have indicated, subject to Coach and Player consultation, that they would wish to be considered for a cup competition featuring both Division 1 and Division 2 teams”.

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