IMPORTANT LEAGUE & SEASON TICKET UPDATE

In light of the decision that our landlords Planet Ice have taken with regards to the 2020 / 21 season and league play not commencing until at the earliest 1st January 2021, as club we support and respect their decision whole heartedly and confer that in this ever changing landscape we must take every step possible to ensure that the safety of all is paramount be it...
9th of September 2020

IMPORTANT LEAGUE & SEASON TICKET UPDATE

In light of the decision that our landlords Planet Ice have taken with regards to the 2020 / 21 season and league play not commencing until at the earliest 1st January 2021, as club we support and respect their decision whole heartedly and confer that in this ever changing landscape we must take every step possible to ensure that the safety of all is paramount be it the rink staff, our supporters, the players or the club staff and loyal volunteers.

Owners of the NIHL National League have been taking part in zoom calls and we would like to share an update on planning progress for the season ahead. As part of this we’ve been working closely with the other NIHL National teams and have together agreed to set a target start date for the NIHL National league of 1st January 2021. In the lead up to that date, we are evaluating the possibilities of playing hockey matches during late November and through December with a series of challenge games and a pre-season cup competitions and we’ll come back to you when we have more details.

Having these dates in the diary gives the opportunity for teams to start to put in place the arrangements needed to safely and effectively return to play. It is important to note that these are planning dates, and are subject to a number of points being resolved before teams can take to the ice.
For example:

1. It is highly likely that social distancing rules will still be in place and that this may restrict attendances. Whether this is a fixed number (e.g. 800) or a percentage of a venue’s capacity, (e.g. 40%) is still to be determined and will be led by local and national Government guidelines, the findings from various non-Ice Hockey test events taking place and EIHA policy. The level at which attendance is restricted will be critical as to whether it is financially viable for teams to compete.
2. Some arenas are still without ice and venues would need to be operational for fixtures to take place so we are dependent on plans to re-lay ice in those venues.
3. We will be consistently adopting across all NIHL venues and fixtures a defined set of COVID protocols around access and exit, locker room provision, cleanliness etc. These processes need to be finalised, agreed and rolled out. This work has now started.
4. A flexible fixtures model needs to be developed to accommodate as simply as possible any fixture changes (e.g. through local lockdown), or changes to the overall season structure. This work has now started.
5. The EIHA’s return to ice programme needs to have reached Level 5 for the season to begin, and at least level 4 for pre-season activities to take place.

The agreement of a planned regular season start date and the intent to run a pre-season cup competition is a very positive step in the journey of the return to live action in the UK of the game we all love.
Although there are a number of hurdles to overcome, we are committed to working together with the other NIHL National teams, to do whatever we can to overcome these obstacles. The owners group will be meeting again later in September to progress these plans further and we will share updates as clearly as possible as plans develop.

SEASON TICKET UPDATE

Currently our 2020 / 21 season ticket package is being offered to our supporters with a closing date of this Sunday 13th September. Firstly, we’d like to thank those supporters who have applied for the package and can confirm that currently no money has been taken from any of the card details provided or any cheques presented and nor will it be until a League season date is agreed.

In light of this news, we can confirm that we will be keeping our Season ticket package offering open until at least Saturday 31st October when we hope that we will have more knowledge and a confirmed plan for fixtures for the 2020 / 21 season.

After the 31st October we will be looking to take the first instalment with the second instalment being taken on Tuesday 1st December, and the third instalment being taken on Tuesday 5th January 2021.

We can confirm that as a club and a league we are monitoring the constantly changing landscape of government and PHE guidance and will update our loyal fans accordingly.

We thank you all for your patience and understanding in these unprecedented times and like all sports, ice hockey is nothing without our loyal and noisy fanbase and we hope to be back on the ice soon.

If you have any questions please do contact us on hello@bstokebison.co.uk