British ice hockey league champions
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).
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, 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. 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. 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.
In the 32 seasons in which a British league competition has been organized, a total of 40 clubs have taken part (although some clubs, such as the Ice Hockey Superleague's Newcastle franchise, have existed under different names). Of these 16 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. Of the other teams currently playing in the Elite Ice Hockey League, the Nottingham Panthers, the only club to have played in all 35 seasons, have won the title once. 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.
1954–60: British National League
|Season||Winner (number of titles)||Runner-up||Third||Top points scorer|
|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|
|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
1996–2003: Ice Hockey Superleague
|Season||Winner (number of titles)||Runner-up||Third||Top points scorer|
|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
Total titles won
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.
||1994–95, 1995–96, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2008–09, 2010–11|
||1984–85, 1985–86, 1988–89, 1990–91, 1991–92|
||1989–90, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1996–97|
||2001–02, 2005–06, 2011–12, 2013–14|
||2004–05, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2009–10|
|Ayr Scottish Eagles||
Total titles won by Home Nation
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|
||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)|
||Murrayfield Racers (2), Ayr Scottish Eagles (1), Dundee Rockets (1), Paisley Pirates (1)|
||Belfast Giants (4)|
||Cardiff Devils (4)|
Multiple title winners
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.
|Teams won all titles available|
|Team||Season||Other titles won|
|Harringay Racers||1954–55||Autumn Cup|
|Nottingham Panthers||1955–56||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|
Challenge Cup, Playoff Championship
Notes and references
- "English League". A to Z Encyclopedia of Ice Hockey. Retrieved 2008-06-10.
- Chambers, Michael A. (ed.) (2007-09-01). Nottingham Panthers Factual Scrapbook 1939–2007. ISBN 0-9539398-1-2.
- "Ice Hockey History". Ice Hockey Journalists UK. Retrieved 2008-06-10.[dead link]
- Chambers, Michael A. (ed.) (November 2000). Nottingham Panthers Statistical Guidebook 1946–2000. ISBN 0-9539398-0-4.
- 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.
- Roberts, Stewart (ed.) (October 2006). Ice Hockey Annual 2006–07. ISBN 0-9536410-7-4.
- "Player Rankings". Elite Ice Hockey League. Archived from the original on 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2008-07-12.