British ice hockey league champions

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The British ice hockey league champions are the winners of the highest ice hockey league in the United Kingdom, currently the Elite Ice Hockey League. Previously, the highest league has been the British National League (1954–60), the Premier Division (1983–96) and the Ice Hockey Superleague (1996–2003).

History[edit]

Prior to the formation of the British National League, England and Scotland each had their own competitions. The English League was founded in 1931 with the Scottish National League being formed a year later. The majority of English League clubs left to form the English National League in 1935,[1] leading the disbandment of the English League at the end of the 1935–36 season. The Scottish National League and English National League both continued until 1954. In that year the decision was taken to amalgamate the two leagues into one.[2] The new competition initially fielded 12 sides in its inaugural season, four from England and eight from Scotland. The Dunfermline Vikings withdrew from the league in early 1955 and at the end of the season six of the seven remaining Scottish sides withdrew, leaving the league with five members. This fell to four following the closure of Harringay Arena in 1958 but increased again to five in 1959 following the admission of Streatham. The league was disbanded following the 1959–60 season.

Following the closure of the British National League, no league competition took place in the United Kingdom for the next six years. Instead clubs, some of which did not have a home rink, participated in rink tournaments.[3] In 1966 the Northern League was formed. This league was made up of teams from Scotland and North East England and was the country's only league for four years. The Southern League was established in 1970 and was divided into the English League North and Inter-City League in 1978. The British Hockey League was formed in 1982 with the Premier Division being launched a season later. There has been a British league continuously since then, although there have been three different organizations and the number of teams taking part has varied from twelve between 1993 and 1995 to five in 2002–03. The current Elite Ice Hockey League was established in 2003.

There has been a British league competition for 37 seasons and 16 teams have won the league championship. The most successful club is the Sheffield Steelers, who have won the championship on seven occasions followed by the now-defunct Durham Wasps who won the title five times. The Belfast Giants, Cardiff Devils and the Coventry Blaze have each been champions four times. The Nottingham Panthers, the only club to have played in all 37 seasons,[2] have won the title twice (additionally Nottingham were English champions twice before the British National League was formed). The Murrayfield Racers, a predecessor of the Edinburgh Capitals, won the championship on two occasions. The Durham Wasps, Murrayfield Racers, Cardiff Devils, Sheffield Steelers and Coventry Blaze are the only sides to have successfully defended a title.

Champions[edit]

1954–60: British National League[edit]

Season Winner (number of titles) Runner-up Third Top points scorer[4]
Player
Points
1954–55 Harringay Racers (1) Nottingham Panthers Paisley Pirates Chick Zamick (Nottingham) 112
1955–56 Nottingham Panthers (1) Wembley Lions Paisley Pirates Statistics not available[5]
1956–57 Wembley Lions (1) Harringay Racers Brighton Tigers
1957–58 Brighton Tigers (1) Nottingham Panthers Harringay Racers
1958–59 Paisley Pirates (1) Wembley Lions Brighton Tigers
1959–60 Streatham (1) Nottingham Panthers Brighton Tigers

1983–96: Premier Division[edit]

Season Winner (number of titles) Runner-up Third Top points scorer[4]
Player
Points
1983–84 Dundee Rockets (1) Durham Wasps Streatham Redskins Roy Halpin (Dundee) 175
1984–85 Durham Wasps (1) Fife Flyers Murrayfield Racers David Stoyanovich (Fife) 175
1985–86 Durham Wasps (2) Murrayfield Racers Ayr Bruins Tim Salmon (Ayr) 254
1986–87 Murrayfield Racers (1) Dundee Rockets Nottingham Panthers Rick Fera (Murrayfield) 242
1987–88 Murrayfield Racers (2) Whitley Warriors Fife Flyers Scott Morrison (Whitley) 224
1988–89 Durham Wasps (3) Murrayfield Racers Nottingham Panthers Rick Brebant (Durham) 218
1989–90 Cardiff Devils (1) Murrayfield Racers Durham Wasps Steve Moria (Cardiff) 175
1990–91 Durham Wasps (4) Cardiff Devils Peterborough Pirates Rick Brebant (Durham) 209
1991–92 Durham Wasps (5) Nottingham Panthers Cardiff Devils Rick Brebant (Durham) 160
1992–93 Cardiff Devils (2) Murrayfield Racers Nottingham Panthers Tony Hand (Murrayfield) 185
1993–94 Cardiff Devils (3) Sheffield Steelers Fife Flyers Tony Hand (Murrayfield) 222
1994–95 Sheffield Steelers (1) Cardiff Devils Nottingham Panthers Tony Hand (Murrayfield) 207
1995–96 Sheffield Steelers (2) Cardiff Devils Durham Wasps Tony Hand (Sheffield) 135

1996–2003: Ice Hockey Superleague[edit]

Season Winner (number of titles) Runner-up Third Top points scorer[4][6]
Player
Points
1996–97 Cardiff Devils (4) Sheffield Steelers Ayr Scottish Eagles Dale Junkin (Bracknell) 60
1997–98 Ayr Scottish Eagles (1) Manchester Storm Cardiff Devils Tony Hand (Sheffield) 39
1998–99 Manchester Storm (1) Cardiff Devils Nottingham Panthers Paul Adey (Nottingham) 56
1999–2000 Bracknell Bees (1) Sheffield Steelers Manchester Storm Ed Courtenay (Sheffield) 70
2000–01 Sheffield Steelers (3) Cardiff Devils Bracknell Bees Greg Bullock (Manchester) 60
2001–02 Belfast Giants (1) Ayr Scottish Eagles Sheffield Steelers Kevin Riehl (Belfast) 56
2002–03 Sheffield Steelers (4) Belfast Giants Nottingham Panthers Lee Jinman (Nottingham) 36

2003–present: Elite Ice Hockey League[edit]

Season Winner (number of titles) Runner-up Third Top points scorer[6][7]
Player
Points
2003–04 Sheffield Steelers (5) Nottingham Panthers Coventry Blaze Mark Dutiaume (Sheffield) 88
2004–05 Coventry Blaze (1) Belfast Giants Cardiff Devils Dan Carlson (Coventry) 61
2005–06 Belfast Giants (2) Newcastle Vipers Nottingham Panthers Theo Fleury (Belfast) 81
2006–07 Coventry Blaze (2) Belfast Giants Cardiff Devils Dan Tessier (Sheffield) 84
2007–08 Coventry Blaze (3) Sheffield Steelers Nottingham Panthers Adam Calder (Coventry) 104
2008–09 Sheffield Steelers (6) Coventry Blaze Nottingham Panthers David-Alexandre Beauregard (Manchester) 107
2009–10 Coventry Blaze (4) Belfast Giants Nottingham Panthers Colin Shields (Belfast Giants) 106
2010–11 Sheffield Steelers (7) Cardiff Devils Belfast Giants Jon Pelle (Cardiff Devils) 111
2011–12 Belfast Giants (3) Sheffield Steelers Nottingham Panthers Jade Galbraith (Braehead Clan) 101
2012–13 Nottingham Panthers (2) Belfast Giants Sheffield Steelers David Ling (Nottingham) 95
2013–14 Belfast Giants (4) Sheffield Steelers Dundee Stars

Total titles won[edit]

Teams in bold are current Elite Ice Hockey League members. Teams in italics are teams which play outside of the Elite Ice Hockey League. The remaining teams are defunct, although Dundee, Edinburgh (home of the Murrayfield Racers) and Manchester still have their own ice hockey teams.

Club Winners Runners-up Winning Years
Sheffield Steelers
7
6
1994–95, 1995–96, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2008–09, 2010–11
Durham Wasps
5
1
1984–85, 1985–86, 1988–89, 1990–91, 1991–92
Cardiff Devils
4
6
1989–90, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1996–97
Belfast Giants
4
5
2001–02, 2005–06, 2011–12, 2013–14
Coventry Blaze
4
1
2004–05, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2009–10
Nottingham Panthers
2
5
1955–56, 2012–13
Murrayfield Racers
2
4
1986–87, 1987–88
Wembley Lions
1
2
1956–57
Harringay Racers
1
1
1954–55
Dundee Rockets
1
1
1983–84
Ayr Scottish Eagles
1
1
1997–98
Manchester Storm
1
1
1998–99
Brighton Tigers
1
0
1957–58
Paisley Pirates
1
0
1958–59
Streatham
1
0
1959–60
Bracknell Bees
1
0
1999–2000

Total titles won by Home Nation[edit]

Each of the four constituent nations of the United Kingdom have had at least one team who have been British champions. Teams from England have been league champions on 24 occasions, Scottish sides five times, while Welsh side Cardiff Devils and the Northern Ireland based Belfast Giants are the only sides from their parts of the United Kingdom to win the league.

Nation Number of titles Clubs
England England
24
Sheffield Steelers (7), Durham Wasps (5), Coventry Blaze (4), Nottingham Panthers (2), Bracknell Bees (1), Manchester Storm (1), Streatham (1), Brighton Tigers (1), Wembley Lions (1), Harringay Racers (1)
Scotland Scotland
5
Murrayfield Racers (2), Ayr Scottish Eagles (1), Dundee Rockets (1), Paisley Pirates (1)
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland
4
Belfast Giants (4)
Wales Wales
4
Cardiff Devils (4)

Multiple title winners[edit]

British ice hockey has run numerous other competitions in addition to the league. The following teams have won titles in addition to the league championship in a season.[2]

Teams won all titles available
Team Season Other titles won
Harringay Racers 1954–55 Autumn Cup
Nottingham Panthers 1955–56 Autumn Cup
Streatham 1959–60 Autumn Cup
Dundee Rockets 1983–84 Autumn Cup, Playoff Championship
Durham Wasps 1984–85 Autumn Cup
Durham Wasps 1988–89 Autumn Cup
Cardiff Devils 1989–90 Playoff Championship
Durham Wasps 1990–91 Autumn Cup, Playoff Championship
Durham Wasps 1991–92 Playoff Championship
Cardiff Devils 1992–93 Autumn Cup, Playoff Championship
Cardiff Devils 1993–94 Playoff Championship
Sheffield Steelers 1994–95 Playoff Championship
Sheffield Steelers 1995–96 Autumn Cup, Playoff Championship
Ayr Scottish Eagles 1997–98 Autumn Cup, Challenge Cup, Playoff Championship
Sheffield Steelers 2000–01 Autumn Cup, Challenge Cup, Playoff Championship
Sheffield Steelers 2002–03 Challenge Cup
Sheffield Steelers 2003–04 Playoff Championship
Coventry Blaze 2004–05 Challenge Cup, Playoff Championship
Coventry Blaze 2006–07 Challenge Cup
Coventry Blaze 2007–08 Knockout Cup
Sheffield Steelers 2008–09 Playoff Championship
Nottingham Panthers 2012–13

Challenge Cup, Playoff Championship

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "English League". A to Z Encyclopedia of Ice Hockey. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  2. ^ a b c Chambers, Michael A. (ed.) (2007-09-01). Nottingham Panthers Factual Scrapbook 1939–2007. ISBN 0-9539398-1-2. 
  3. ^ "Ice Hockey History". Ice Hockey Journalists UK. Retrieved 2008-06-10. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b c Chambers, Michael A. (ed.) (November 2000). Nottingham Panthers Statistical Guidebook 1946–2000. ISBN 0-9539398-0-4. 
  5. ^ The primary source for statistics in British ice hockey in the post war period was the Ice Hockey World Annual. This ceased publishing following its 1956 edition and therefore the top points scorer after that time is not presently known.
  6. ^ a b Roberts, Stewart (ed.) (October 2006). Ice Hockey Annual 2006–07. ISBN 0-9536410-7-4. 
  7. ^ "Player Rankings". Elite Ice Hockey League. Archived from the original on 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2008-07-12.