Senior ice hockey could return to Sheffield in November

Senior ice hockey could return to Sheffield and other parts of England in November with six teams competing in a cup competition.

By Bob Westerdale
Thursday, 10th September 2020, 5:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th September 2020, 5:58 pm

Steeldogs' coach Ben Morgan has warmly welcomed a 'National Ice Hockey League' announcement detailing that matches might be allowed to take place during "late November and through December" - the programme featuring challenge games and a pre-season cup competition.

There is a target date for the regular NIHL National league to start up again on New Year's Day.

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That's the blueprint - but nothing is set in stone and the Government will have to rule over whether fans could attend games - and if so, in what numbers.

Their decision will be influenced by a hoped-for reduction in the coronavirus infection, from current levels.

Morgan believes his own Sheffield team, Telford Tigers, Swindon Wildcats, Hull Pirates, Raiders and Bees would be keen to take part from November onwards, with the rest of the NIHL, Basingstoke Bison, Milton Keynes Lightning, Peterborough Phantoms and Leeds Chiefs joining in the regular league format in the new year.

"The success of this all depends on whether the Government will give us the green light as regards attendances," said Morgan.

Ben Morgan

"If they can do that we can pencil in a league start date for January.

"A six team cup competition will give us something to work towards January.

"But if the Government was to say a November cup competition would have to start without crowds, well I cannot see it going ahead.

"I believe every club would need some financial support from attendances, whether it is a percentage of capacity or a set number at a rink.

"If they said it would be 40-50 percent of capacity - we'd be alright with that in Sheffield."

Morgan said Steeldogs, as a club and roster, could be ready and waiting well before November.

"We'd have to finalise the squad with one or two more signings," he said.

"But we understand the current climate, we know what restraints we have got as a club, we box clever and every owner in the league is on board to get us through the next 12 months

"November is the aim. Ultimately it comes down to what our mate Boris says!"

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