NIHL side Sheffield Steeldogs will play Swindon Wildcats in a home-and-home series next weekend to kick-start the Government-endorsed return to play in the NIHL National ‘Spring Cup.’
For fans in the city, the tournament is a metaphorical shot in the arm, as the EIHL decided last week that any tournament involving the Steelers would not go on until September, because of coronavirus.
The Spring Cup will be closely monitored not just for the sake of watching hockey - but to see how the teams involved can wrestle with the obligations of running a safe and healthy programme in such troubled times.
Swindon and Sheffield both played in November’s ‘Streaming Series’ test events and the pair will face off in Wiltshire on Saturday (6.30pm.)
The return fixture will take place at iceSheffield on Sunday, with the puck drop scheduled to take place at 5pm.
As with the Streaming Series the games will have no spectators allowed at the rink but they can watch Ben O'Connor and his Dogs' pals via live stream.
(Bracknell) Bees, Telford Tigers and (Romford) Raiders will all join in on the action the following weekend.
Swindon will be putting streaming tickets on sale on Monday, while Sheffield have their box office already up and running to book a broadcast - http://bit.ly/Val3ntine5.
The League said remaining fixtures will be released soon. There will be staggered start times where two games are taking place on the same day.
*The Spring Cup is the first phase of the EIHA’s Return to Play – discussions are ongoing with clubs in NIHL North 1, NIHL South 1 and the WNIHL to have some form of competition for those clubs with ‘elite sport’ accreditation.
Team sports for athletes under 18 are still banned under current lockdown rules – the EIHA says it will look to get these players back on the ice as quickly and safely as possible.
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