English National Ice Hockey League
|No. of teams||32|
|Official website||EIHA Leagues|
The National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) (formerly the English National Ice Hockey League or ENIHL) is a set of amateur ice hockey leagues below the English Premier Ice Hockey League which is administered by the English Ice Hockey Association. It was announced on May 17, 2012, that as the league now includes several teams from Scotland and Wales as well as England, it will be renamed the National Ice Hockey League from season 2012/13.
The league is split into two regions, North and South, meaning teams aren't travelling the length of the country for away games. Each section has 2 divisions, the South simply have Division 1 & 2, while the North have named their divisions - Moralee Conference (Division 1) & Laidler Conference (Division 2). The league is now the third tier in ice hockey after the demise of the British National League.
The ENIHL was formed in 1996.
In April 2007, the EIHA lowered the upper age limit within the junior leagues, abolishing the under 19 age limit to become under 18. Due to the large gap from junior level to the EPIHL, many teams were forced to enter a reserve team into the ENIHL. This increased the size of the league from 22 teams through to 30 teams for the 2007/2008 season.
Later in the 2007 off-season, the EIHA suggested introducing an under 25 age limit across the league. However, this age limit was removed within weeks in favour of a drive towards developing players.
Following the 2012/2013 the league was renamed the National Ice Hockey League, removing the words English due to non-English teams participating.
Follows International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) rules, as used by countries in all major European leagues. There are significant differences between the National Hockey League rules and IIHF rules, including rink dimension, netminder puck handling, and icing.
The ENIHL also operates under additional EIHA regulations.
Additional discipline rules are also enforced by the EIHA, which include;
- Team fines of up to £5,000 for failure to complete a fixture
- A points system for misconduct and match penalties
- Player suspensions based upon accumulation of points
- 10 points - 2 game suspension
- 15 points - 3 game suspension
- 20 points - 4 game suspension
- 25 points - 5 game suspension
- Penalty Points for coach/managers and bench officials
- For every 20 penalty points accumulated against the team (players, coaches,managers and bench official) - £25 fine
- 50 team penalty points - £100 fine
- 75 team penalty points - £250 fine plus suspension
- 100 team penalty points - £250 plus the £250 suspended fine awarded at 75 points = £500 total fine
Each team plays each of the other teams in their league a total of four times; twice home, twice away.
At the end of the regular season, the top 4 from each division enter the playoffs, the quarter finals of which are over two legs. The semi finals are a single match between teams from the same division, and the champions are decided by a single final.
Relegation is decided by two games between top of league two and bottom of league one for each division; winner goes up, loser goes down.
There is also an ENIHL cup with two groups of five teams who play each other team twice. The winners of the two groups play each other in two final games.
The league itself is considered to be a development league, and as such the players are normally amateur. Many teams have affiliate teams in higher leagues. Other teams are aligned with junior ice hockey clubs, and exist to ensure that when players hit 18 there is still a possibility for them to play competitive hockey if they have not joined a professional team. Examples of this include the Bracknell Hornets and the Lancashire Raptors.
Teams correct for 2013-14 season.
|Moralee Conference||Billingham Stars||Billingham, Cleveland||Billingham Forum||900|
|Blackburn Hawks||Blackburn, Lancashire||Blackburn Arena||3200|
|Manchester Minotaurs||Altrincham, Greater Manchester||Altrincham Ice Dome||2150|
|Sheffield Spartans||Sheffield, South Yorkshire||iceSheffield, Sheffield||1500|
|Solway Sharks||Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway||Dumfries Ice Bowl||1000|
|Sutton Sting||Sheffield, South Yorkshire||iceSheffield, Sheffield||1500|
|Telford NIHL Tigers||Telford, Shropshire||Telford Ice Rink||2250|
|Whitley Warriors||Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear||Whitley Bay Ice Rink||3200|
|Laidler Conference||Blackburn Eagles||Blackburn, Lancashire||Blackburn Arena||3200|
|Coventry NIHL Blaze||Coventry, West Midlands||SkyDome Arena, Coventry||3000|
|Deeside Dragons||Queensferry, Flintshire, Wales||Deeside Ice Rink||1500|
|Hull Stingrays||Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire||Hull Arena, Kingston upon Hull||2000|
|Nottingham Lions||Nottingham, Nottinghamshire||National Ice Centre, Nottingham||1000|
|Sheffield Senators||Sheffield, South Yorkshire||iceSheffield, Sheffield||1500|
|Solihull Barons||Solihull, West Midlands||Solihull Ice Rink||N/K|
|Widnes Wild||Widnes, Halton||Silver Blades, Widnes||800|
|Division 1||Bracknell Hornets||Bracknell, Berkshire||John Nike Leisuresport Complex||2400|
|Cardiff NIHL Devils 1||Cardiff, South Wales||Cardiff Arena||2500|
|Chelmsford Chieftains||Chelmsford, Essex||Riverside Ice & Leisure Centre||1200|
|Invicta Dynamos||Gillingham, Kent||Silver Blades, Gillingham||1200|
|London Raiders||Leyton, London||Lee Valley Ice Centre, Waltham Forest||1000|
|Milton Keynes Thunder||Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire||Planet Ice Thunderdome, Milton Keynes||2200|
|Solent Devils||Gosport, Hampshire||Gosport Ice Rink, Gosport||N/A|
|Streatham Redskins||Streatham, London||High Street Ice Rink, Streatham||1200|
|Wightlink Raiders||Ryde, Isle of Wight||Ryde Arena||1000|
|Division 2||Basingstoke Buffalo||Basingstoke, Hampshire||Planet Ice Silverdome, Basingstoke||2000|
|Bristol Pitbulls||Bristol||Oxford Ice Rink||650|
|Cardiff NIHL Devils 2||Cardiff, South Wales||Cardiff Arena||2500|
|Chelmsford Warriors||Chelmsford, Essex||Riverside Ice & Leisure Centre||1200|
|Haringey Racers||Haringey, London||Alexandra Palace Ice Rink||1250|
|Invicta Mustangs||Gillingham, Kent||Silver Blades, Gillingham||1200|
|Lee Valley Lions||Leyton, London||Lee Valley Ice Centre, Waltham Forest||1000|
|Oxford City Stars||Oxford, Oxfordshire||Oxford Ice Rink||1025|
|Peterborough Islanders||Peterborough, Cambridgeshire||Planet Ice, Peterborough||1250|
|Slough NIHL Jets||Slough, Berkshire||Slough Ice Rink, Slough||1000|
|Swindon NIHL Wildcats||Swindon, Wiltshire||Link Centre, Swindon||1250|
|Wightlink Tigers||Ryde, Isle of Wight||Ryde Arena||1000|
- History, Vectis Tigers (last accessed April 13, 2009)
- ENGLISH ICE HOCKEY ASSOCIATION COMPANY LIMITED MEETING OF DIRECTORS 8TH JUNE 2007 (last accessed April 13, 2009)
- News from the ENIHL AGM - Under 25's Age Limit Removed, Invicta Dynamos (last accessed April 13, 2009)
- Rulebook 2006-2010 International Ice Hockey Federation
- Rules and Regulations, EIHA
- Disciplinary Document, EIHA, Revised June 7, 2008
- BIHC ENIHL, Bracknell Ice Hockey Club (last accessed April 13, 2009)
- Lancashire Raptors (last accessed April 13, 2009)