English Premier Ice Hockey League
|Current season, competition or edition:
2015–16 EPIHL Season
(1997 as part of ENIHL)
(1997–98 as part of ENIHL)
|CEO||Ken Taggart |
|No. of teams||10|
|Country||England (10 teams)|
|Headquarters||Blackpool, Lancashire, England|
|Most recent champion(s)||League:Telford Tigers (1st title)
Playoffs: Peterborough Phantoms
Cup: Basingstoke Bison
|Most titles||League: Guildford Flames |
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). 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.
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.
The league is ruled and governed by the English Ice Hockey Association. 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
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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
|Basingstoke Bison||Basingstoke, Hampshire||Planet Ice Silverdome Arena||1988||2009||2009-present||Doug Sheppard (P/C)||Joe Greener|
|Bracknell Bees||Bracknell, Berkshire||John Nike Leisuresport Complex||1987||2005||2005-present||Lukas Smital (P/C)||Matt Foord|
|Guildford Flames||Guildford, Surrey||Guildford Spectrum||1992||2005||2005-present||Paul Dixon (P/C)||Jeremy Lundin|
|Hull Pirates||Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire||Hull Arena||2015||2015||2015-present||Dominc Osman (P/C)||Jan Platil|
|Manchester Phoenix||Greater Manchester||Deeside Leisure Centre||2003||2009||2009-present||Tony Hand||Luke Boothroyd|
|Milton Keynes Lightning||Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire||Planet Ice Milton Keynes||2002||2002||2002-present||Peter Russell||Adam Carr|
|Peterborough Phantoms||Peterborough, Cambridgeshire||Planet Ice Peterborough||2002||2002||2002-present||Slava Koulikov (P/C)||James Ferrara|
|Sheffield Steeldogs||Sheffield, South Yorkshire||IceSheffield||2001||2005||2005-present||Greg Wood (P/C)||Ben Morgan|
|Swindon Wildcats||Swindon, Wiltshire||Link Centre||1986||1997||1997-present||Aaron Nell (P/C)||Jan Košťál|
|Telford Tigers||Telford, Shropshire||Telford Ice Rink||2001||2010||2002-2009,
|Tom Watkins||Jason Silverthorn|
- Although the Telford Tigers joined the league in 2005. They did not play in the 2009–10 season due to financial issues.
|Season||League||Play-offs||EPL Cup||Knockout Cup||British Challenge 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||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|
|Team||League||Play-offs||EPL Cup||Knockout Cup||British Ch Cup||Total|
|Milton Keynes Lightning||3||4||0||0||0||7|
|Milton Keynes Kings||0||0||1||0||0||1|
- "EIHA Player Eligibility Rules".