English National Ice Hockey League

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"National Ice Hockey League" redirects here. For other uses, see National Ice Hockey League (disambiguation).
English National Ice Hockey League
ENL Logo.png
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 1996
No. of teams 32
Country  United Kingdom
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.[1]

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.[2]

Later in the 2007 off-season, the EIHA suggested introducing an under 25 age limit across the league.[3] However, this age limit was removed within weeks in favour of a drive towards developing players.[4]

Following the 2012/2013 the league was renamed the National Ice Hockey League, removing the words English due to non-English teams participating.

In 2013 it was agreed at the EIHA AGM to restructure the Northern league into two conferences; Moralee and Laidler.


Follows International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) rules,[5] 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.[6]

Additional discipline rules are also enforced by the EIHA,[7] 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

Season Structure[edit]

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[8] and the Lancashire Raptors.[9]


Teams correct for 2013-14 season.

League Champions[edit]

Season Northern Champions Southern Champions Playoff Champions English National Cup Champions
1996/97 Kingston Jets Romford Raiders Wightlink Raiders NA
1997/98 Solihull Barons Invicta Dynamos Solihull Barons NA
1998/99 Billingham Bombers Cardiff Devils Billingham Bombers NA
1999/00 Billingham Bombers Haringey Greyhounds Whitley Warriors NA
2000/01 Billingham Bombers Basingstoke Buffalo Whitley Warriors Whitley Warriors
2001/02 Whitley Warriors Basingstoke Buffalo Whitley Warriors Whitley Warriors
2002/03 Sheffield Scimitars Basingstoke Buffalo Basingstoke Buffalo NA
2003/04 Flintshire Freeze Invicta Dynamos Sheffield Scimitars Sheffield Scimitars
2004/05 Sheffield Scimitars Invicta Dynamos Sheffield Scimitars Sheffield Scimitars
2005/06 Billingham Bombers Invicta Dynamos Invicta Dynamos Invicta Dynamos
2006/07 Newcastles Vipers Invicta Dynamos Sheffield Scimitars Sheffield Scimitars
2007/08 Nottingham Lions Peterborough Islanders Whitley Warriors Sheffield Scimitars
2008/09 Sheffield Scimitars Invicta Dynamos Nottingham Lions Sheffield Scimitars
2009/10 Whitley Warriors Invicta Dynamos
2010/11 Whitley Warriors Wightlink Raiders


  1. ^ http://www.facebook.com/SlapshotScotland
  2. ^ History, Vectis Tigers (last accessed April 13, 2009)
  4. ^ News from the ENIHL AGM - Under 25's Age Limit Removed, Invicta Dynamos (last accessed April 13, 2009)
  5. ^ Rulebook 2006-2010 International Ice Hockey Federation
  6. ^ Rules and Regulations, EIHA
  7. ^ Disciplinary Document, EIHA, Revised June 7, 2008
  8. ^ BIHC ENIHL, Bracknell Ice Hockey Club (last accessed April 13, 2009)
  9. ^ Lancashire Raptors (last accessed April 13, 2009)