English Premier Ice Hockey League

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English Premier Ice Hockey League (EPIHL)
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2015–16 EPIHL Season
EPL Logo.gif
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 1998
(1997 as part of ENIHL)
Inaugural season 1998–99
(1997–98 as part of ENIHL)
CEO Ken Taggart [1]
No. of teams 10
Country England (10 teams)
Headquarters Blackpool, Lancashire, England[1]
Continent Europe
Most recent
champion(s)
League:Basingstoke Bison (1st title)[2]
Playoffs: Guildford Flames
Cup: Guildford Flames
Most titles League: Guildford Flames [4]
Official website EIHA.com/EPIHL

The English Premier Ice Hockey League (EPIHL) is an ice hockey league of 10 teams, all of which are based in England. Headquartered in Blackpool, the EPIHL is one of two professional ice hockey leagues in the United Kingdom (the other being the Elite Ice Hockey League). A total of 27 teams have been in the league at one time or another; with 10 currently featuring in the league. Swindon Wildcats are the only team to have consistently featured in the EPIHL since its inaugural season in 1997-98.

History[edit]

The league was founded in 1997, under the banner of "national division", as part of the English National Ice Hockey League in order to serve former members of the British National League who couldn't afford to remain in the latter as a result of increased operating costs; but who were capable of a level of play above the import-free English leagues that made up the rest of the ENIHL. During the 1997-98 season the teams' that constituted this division played dual schedules; a series of games solely amongst their own division, and another amongst all the teams that were playing under the ENIHL at that time. Solihull Blaze won the league and play-off trophies of both formats during this inaugural season. At the start of the 1998-99 season the divisions, whilst still both under the ENIHL umbrella, performed in their own separate competitions; and the national division adopted the name "premier division", and later on became known as the "premier league". By the end of the season the league had established itself outside of the ENIHL as the "English Premier Ice Hockey League". In 2005 the BNL disbanded; leaving the EPIHL to take its place as the second tier of the national game.[3]

Organizational structure[edit]

The league is ruled and governed by the English Ice Hockey Association.[4] The current chairman of the EPIHL is Ken Taggart. The team owners meet regularly to discuss league matters under the auspices of the league chairman, and take a democratic vote on all decisions.

Executives[edit]

  • Chairman: Ken Taggart
  • Chief Referee: Mohammad Ashraff
  • Administrator: Mary Faunt
  • Fixtures Secretary: Gary Dent
  • Teams Owners Rep: Harry Howton
  • Statistician: Malcolm Preen
  • Registrations: Liz Moralee

Game[edit]

Each English Premier Ice Hockey League regulation game is played between two teams and is 60 minutes long. The game is composed of three 20-minute periods with an intermission of 15 minutes between periods. At the end of the 60-minute regulation time, the team with the most goals wins the game.

Previously, if a game was tied it would end a draw, but in the 2008–09 season, the rule was changed to; if a game is tied after regulation time, overtime ensues. Overtime is a five-minute, four-player on four-player sudden-death period, in which the first team to score a goal wins the game. In 2015-16, this was amend to three-player on three-player. If the game is still tied at the end of overtime, the game enters a shootout. Three players for each team in turn take a penalty shot. The team with the most goals at the end of the three-round shootout wins the game. If the game is still tied after the three shootout rounds, the shootout continues but becomes sudden death. Whichever team ultimately wins the shootout is awarded a goal in the game score and thus awarded two points in the standings. The losing team in overtime or shootout is awarded only one.

Rules[edit]

While the English Premier Ice Hockey League follows the rules of ice hockey that are used in international games organised by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) such as the Olympics, the league does however operate under a number of restrictions, allowing it to classify itself as a 'developmental league'.

The main restriction placed on the member clubs is a limit of 5 non EIHA trained, EU passport holding 'import' players dressed per game. Further to this, only 3 of these players may be on the ice simultaneously, with certain exceptions.[5] The EU passport requirement is not enforced by the EPIHL per se, rather it is a product of the fact that UK Visas and Immigration only grants work permits to non-EU players who wish to sign for teams in the Elite Ice Hockey League. Despite the 4 imports dressed rule, it is not uncommon for some teams to sign a 5th import as 'backup' in case of injuries to an 'active' import.

The league has no wage limitations, although it is generally accepted that due to the import restriction, wage bills are lower than teams in the EIHL. Despite the lower wages paid, the league still suffers from teams folding, or quitting the league due to financial problems.[6][7]

Season structure[edit]

The English Premier Ice Hockey League season runs from the first week in September through late March. During the regular season, clubs play each other in a predefined schedule.

In the regular season, each team plays 54 games, 6 against each team. These are split evenly between Home and Away fixtures.

The EPIHL's regular season standings are based on a point system instead of winning percentages. Points are awarded for each game, where two points are awarded for a win, one point for losing in overtime or a shootout, and zero points for a loss in regulation. At the end of the regular season, the team that finishes with the most points is crowned the league champion.

Teams[edit]

Team City/Area Arena Capacity Founded Joined Tenure Head Coach Captain
Basingstoke Bison Basingstoke, Hampshire Planet Ice Silverdome Arena 2,000 1988 2009 2009-present Doug Sheppard (P/C) Joe Greener
Bracknell Bees Bracknell, Berkshire John Nike Leisuresport Complex 2,400 1987 2005 2005-present Lukas Smital (P/C) Matt Foord England
Hull Pirates Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire Hull Arena 3,750 2015 2015 2015-present Dominc Osman (P/C) Nathan Salem England
Peterborough Phantoms Peterborough, Cambridgeshire Planet Ice Peterborough 1,250 2002 2002 2002-present Slava Koulikov (P/C) James Ferrara England
Sheffield Steeldogs Sheffield, South Yorkshire IceSheffield 1,500 2001 2005 2005-present Greg Wood (P/C) Ben Morgan England
Swindon Wildcats Swindon, Wiltshire Link Centre 2,800 1986 1997 1997-present Aaron Nell (P/C) Jan Košťál Czech Republic
Telford Tigers Telford, Shropshire Telford Ice Rink 600 2001 2010 2002-2009,
2010-present
Tom Watkins Jason Silverthorn CanadaUnited Kingdom
Notes
  1. Although the Telford Tigers joined the league in 2005. They did not play in the 2009–10 season due to financial issues.

Former teams[edit]

Team City/Area Founded Joined Left
Billingham Eagles Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees 1996 1997 1998
Blackburn Hawks Blackburn, Lancashire 1990 1998 1999
Chelmsford Chieftains Chelmsford, Essex 1987 1998
2002
2000
2008
Coventry Blaze
(aka "Solihull Blaze")
Solihull, West Midlands 1965 1997 1999
Guildford Flames Guildford, Surrey 1992 2005 2017
Haringey Greyhounds Harringay, Greater London 1990 2000 2003
Hull Stingrays Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire 2003 2005 2006
Invicta Dynamos Gillingham, Kent 1997 1997 2003
Kingston Jets Kingston-upon-Thames, London 1996 1997 1998
London Raiders Romford, Greater London 1987 1998
2002
2000
2010
Manchester Phoenix Manchester 2003 2009 2017
Milton Keynes Kings
(aka "Solihull Kings")
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Solihull, West Midlands
1990 1998 1999
Milton Keynes Lightning Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire 2002 2002 2017
Nottingham Lions Nottingham, Nottinghamshire 2000 2000 2003
Oxford Blades Oxford, Oxfordshire 1998 1998 2000
Slough Jets Slough, Berkshire 1986 2002 2014
Solihull Barons Solihull, West Midlands 2000
2005
2000
2005
2002
2007
Solihull Kings Solihull, West Midlands 2003 2003 2005
Sunderland Chiefs Sunderland, Tyne and Wear 1977 1997 1998
Whitley Warriors Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear 1955 1997 1998
Wightlink Raiders Ryde, Isle of Wight 1991 1997 2009

Champions[edit]

Season League Play-offs EPL Cup
1997–98 Solihull Blaze Solihull Blaze
1998–99 Solihull Blaze Solihull Blaze Milton Keynes Kings
1999–00 Chelmsford Chieftains Chelmsford Chieftains -
2000–01 Swindon Wildcats London Raiders -
2001–02 Invicta Dynamos Invicta Dynamos London Raiders
2002–03 Peterborough Phantoms Milton Keynes Lightning Wightlink Raiders
2003–04 Milton Keynes Lightning Milton Keynes Lightning Peterborough Phantoms
2004–05 Milton Keynes Lightning Milton Keynes Lightning London Raiders
2005–06 Guildford Flames Milton Keynes Lightning Bracknell Bees
2006–07 Bracknell Bees Bracknell Bees Guildford Flames
2007–08 Guildford Flames Slough Jets Bracknell Bees
2008–09 Peterborough Phantoms Peterborough Phantoms Peterborough Phantoms
2009–10 Milton Keynes Lightning Slough Jets Guildford Flames
2010–11 Manchester Phoenix Guildford Flames Slough Jets
2011–12 Guildford Flames Slough Jets Guildford Flames
2012–13 Guildford Flames Manchester Phoenix Guildford Flames
2013–14 Manchester Phoenix Basingstoke Bison Basingstoke Bison
2014–15 Telford Tigers Peterborough Phantoms Telford Tigers
2015-16 Basingstoke Bison Guildford Flames Guildford Flames
2016-17 Telford Tigers Milton Keynes Lightning Milton Keynes Lightning

Most titles[edit]

Team League Play-offs EPL Cup Total
Guildford Flames 4 2 5 11
Milton Keynes Lightning 3 5 1 9
Peterborough Phantoms 2 2 2 6
Solihull Blaze 2 2 0 4
Bracknell Bees 1 1 2 4
Slough Jets 0 3 1 4
Manchester Phoenix 2 1 0 3
London Raiders 0 1 2 3
Basingstoke Bison 1 1 1 3
Chelmsford Chieftains 1 1 0 2
Invicta Dynamos 1 1 0 2
Telford Tigers 2 0 1 3
Swindon Wildcats 1 0 0 1
Milton Keynes Kings 0 0 1 1
Wightlink Raiders 0 0 1 1

References[edit]

External links[edit]