English Premier Ice Hockey League

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"EPIHL" redirects here. For other uses, see EPIHL (disambiguation).
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 1997
CEO Ken Taggart [1]
Inaugural season 1997–98
No. of teams 10
Country England (10 teams)
Headquarters Blackpool, Lancashire, England[1]
Continent Europe
Most recent champion(s) League:Telford Tigers (1st title)[2]
Playoffs: Peterborough Phantoms
Cup: Basingstoke Bison
Most titles League: Guildford Flames [4]
Official website EIHA.com/EPIHL

The English Premier Ice Hockey League (EPIHL) is a developmental ice hockey league of 10 teams, all of which are based in England. Headquartered in Blackpool, the EPIHL is the secondary professional ice hockey league in Great Britain (after the ten-side Elite Ice Hockey League).

The league was founded in 1997 and served as the effective 3rd tier of the game, offering a level of play above the import free English leagues, but below the 8 imported players restricted British National League (BNL). Since 2005, when the BNL disbanded, the EPIHL has become the second tier of the national game.

Organizational structure[edit]

The league is ruled and governed by the English Ice Hockey Association.[3] 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.


  • 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


Main article: Ice hockey

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. 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.

Hockey rink[edit]

Main article: Hockey rink

English Premier Ice Hockey League games are played on a rectangular hockey rink with rounded corners surrounded by walls and Plexiglas. The center line divides the ice in half, and is used to judge icing violations. There are two blue lines that divide the rink roughly into thirds, which divide the ice into two attacking and one neutral zone.the rink, there is a thin red goal line spanning the width of the ice, which is used to judge goals and icing calls.


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 4 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.[4] 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.[5][6]

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.


Team City/Area Arena Founded Joined Head Coach Captain
Basingstoke Bison Basingstoke, Hampshire Planet Ice Silverdome Arena 1988 2009 Doug Sheppard (P/C) Joe Greener
Bracknell Bees Bracknell, Berkshire John Nike Leisuresport Complex 1987 2005 Lukas Smital (P/C) Matt Foord
Guildford Flames Guildford, Surrey Guildford Spectrum 1992 2005 Paul Dixon (P/C) Jeremy Lundin England
Hull Pirates Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire Hull Arena 2015 Dominc Osman (P/C) Jan Platil
Manchester Phoenix Greater Manchester Deeside Leisure Centre 2003 2009 Tony Hand Luke Boothroyd England
Milton Keynes Lightning Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire Planet Ice Milton Keynes 2002 Peter Russell Adam Carr England
Peterborough Phantoms Peterborough, Cambridgeshire Planet Ice Peterborough 2002 Slava Koulikov (P/C) James Ferrara
Sheffield Steeldogs Sheffield, South Yorkshire IceSheffield 2010 Greg Wood (P/C) Ben Morgan England
Swindon Wildcats Swindon, Wiltshire Link Centre 1986 2005 Stevie Lyle (P/C) Jan Košťál Czech Republic
Telford Tigers Telford, Shropshire Telford Ice Rink 1985 2005 Tom Watkins Jason Silverthorn
  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 Reason
Blackburn Hawks Blackburn, Lancashire 1992 1998 1999
Chelmsford Chieftains Chelmsford, Essex 1987 1998
Haringey Greyhounds Haringay, Greater London 1990 2000 2001
Hull Stingrays Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire 2003 2005 2006 Economical gain enabled them to join the EIHL.
Invicta Dynamos Gillingham, Kent 1997 1997 2003 Lack of sponsorship.
Milton Keynes Kings Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire 1995 1998 1999
Nottingham Lions Nottingham, Nottinghamshire 1998 2000 2003
Oxford Blades Oxford, Oxfordshire 1998 2001 2001 Financial problems
Romford Raiders Romford, Greater London 1987 1998 2010
Solihull Barons Solihull, West Midlands 1972 2005 2007
Sunderland Chiefs Sunderland, Tyne and Wear 1986 1997 1998
Whitley Warriors Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear 1955 1997 1998
Wightlink Raiders Ryde, Isle of Wight 1991 1997 2009
Slough Jets Slough, Berkshire 1986 2005 2014


Season League Play-offs EPL Cup Knockout Cup British Challenge Cup
1997–98 Solihull Barons Solihull Barons
1998–99 Solihull Barons Solihull Barons Milton Keynes Kings
1999–00 Chelmsford Chieftains Chelmsford Chieftains
2000–01 Swindon Wildcats Romford Raiders
2001–02 Invicta Dynamos Invicta Dynamos Romford 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 Romford 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 Peterborough Phantoms
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

Most titles[edit]

Team League Play-offs EPL Cup Knockout Cup British Ch Cup Total
Guildford Flames 4 1 4 0 0 9
Milton Keynes Lightning 3 4 0 0 0 7
Peterborough Phantoms 2 2 2 1 0 7
Solihull Barons 2 2 0 0 0 4
Bracknell Bees 1 1 2 0 0 4
Slough Jets 0 3 1 0 0 4
Manchester Phoenix 2 1 0 0 0 3
Romford Raiders 0 1 2 0 0 3
Chelmsford Chieftains 1 1 0 0 0 2
Invicta Dynamos 1 1 0 0 0 2
Telford Tigers 1 0 0 0 1 2
Basingstoke Bison 0 1 1 0 0 2
Swindon Wildcats 1 0 0 0 0 1
Milton Keynes Kings 0 0 1 0 0 1
Wightlink Raiders 0 0 1 0 0 1


External links[edit]