The "Bad Boys" League Table
One of my bugbears with British hockey at the moment is the lack of mobility between divisions.
Having been brought up on a diet of British League hockey which at one stage – 1986/87 to be exact – had THREE divisions and 49 teams all playing in the same joined-up competition, you might understand how I find the current arrangement of separate leagues with groups of 8 or 9 teams happily playing among themselves year in year out a bit of a comedown.
Iâ€™m not criticising the teams here â€“ or the players or, indeed, anybody that puts all their time and effort into keeping ice hockey going in this country. I just think it is a shame that it is not handled in a slightly more â€œholisticâ€ manner.
There is, however, one place where all teams come together in the sameÂ table of standings â€“ rather bizarrely – and this is the EIHA Disciplinary table.
Most players and team officials will know about this but it may not be as well known among hockey fans. In the EIHA-run leagues, there is a disciplinary system in place whereby if players pick up match penalties etc, they pick up get disciplinary points which tot up over the course of the season. There is a fixed scale of suspensions and fines that kick in a t different levels of pints accrued.
Now this isnâ€™t privileged information â€“ it is freely available for all to see on the EIHA website and I just happened upon it when I was looking for something else.Â You just go to www.eiha.co.uk Â and look at the drop down menu under Leagues. There at the bottom you will see â€œSenior Disciplineâ€ and, I must say, I find this fascinating… but to save you have to leave Blueliner Hockey just for now, Iâ€™ll talk you through what is on there.
There is a list per league, ie split between EPL and NIHL, in chronological order which sets out each playerâ€™s suspension from the start of the season and the date on which the offence was committed.
By scanning down these lists you can see who has been a naughty boy andÂ which games have seen the most disciplinary action dished out.Â My attention was immediately drawn to the Chelmsford Chieftains v London Raiders game on 13th October where no less the NINE match penalties were handed out (Chieftains 4 – Raiders 5) â€“ nearly all of which, it turns out, were for a mass brawl on 60 minutes (see photo above).
Now, it seems that London Raiders are no strangers to the proverbial â€œearly bathâ€ and are, in fact, are league leaders in this department, which is what I am leading up today.
The EIHA Senior Discipline page has a â€Penalty Points By Teamâ€ section where all the teams with points are ranked in a table. Currently top are EPL team Sheffield Steeldogs with 55 points and London Raiders are second with 51, followed by Chelmsford on 46.
As you go down the table you find the highest NIHL North teams are Coventry Blaze and Sheffield Senators in 17th and 18th place respectively with 16 points.
What is particularly interesting about this table is that, not only does it lump EPL, NIHL North and NIHL South teams all in together but it also has Under-18, Under-16 and Under-14 teams there as well. Even the Billingham Under-12 teams gets a mention with 1 penalty point!
So there you are â€“ there is, after all, ONE place in British Ice hockey where all the teams figure in the same league â€“ even if it is only for disciplinary points.
Photo Credit: Chelmsford Chieftains v London Raiders, 13th October 2013Â by Tony Hammans, One Shot ImagesÂ