10th of June 2019
League Format Confirmed for 2019 / 20 SeasonThe clubs and management of the National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) held their annual section meetings this past weekend and agreed the format of competitions for the 2019/20 season starting in September.
A new ten team national division, NIHL National, comes into existence to sit above the long-standing Division 1 and 2 which are both regionalised into North and South.
Some finer details around exact format of some Cup and Playoff competitions is still to be signed off by some divisions but the details below are confirmed.
Your Trane sponsored Basingstoke Bison were represented and the meeting agreed the following:
NIHL National's ten teams will be split into two conferences for regular season play. Telford Tigers, MK Lightning, Sheffield Steeldogs, Hull Pirates and Leeds Chiefs make up one conference. Swindon Wildcats, Bracknell Bees, Basingstoke Bison, Peterborough Phantoms and Raiders make up the other.
Teams will play their own conference four home and four away, while they face the other conference twice at home and twice away.
At the end of the regular season, the top eight teams from the overall standings will qualify for the playoffs. These will play in two groups of four, one home and one away game, with the groups being 1st-4th-5th-8th and 2nd-3rd-6th-7th. The top two sides from the groups will qualify for the finals weekend in Coventry.
There will also be a National Cup where the first home game for each club against the nine other clubs will count towards the qualifying standings. The top four sides from this table will qualify for cup semi finals. The highest placed qualifier will choose their semi final opponent, with the two remaining sides also matching up. The Cup should have reached at least the semi final stage by the end of the calendar year.
The season will likely begin on September 14/15 and it was confirmed the the NIHL National will continue with the same 'import' rules as last year. Teams can dress two 'imports' with only one being allowed on the ice at any one time.
Coach Tait confirmed, "Recruitment is going well and we now know for sure how our new league and the season will pan out - it's exciting to be apart of something new in our sport."
Fixtures dates will now be submitted and we look forward to seeing our fans at the Season ticket sales night on Friday 28th June 2019 in the rink bar.