Sheffield Steelers 2020-21 Elite League campaign scheduled for October launch
Sheffield Steelers’ 2020-21 Elite League campaign has been put back a month from its traditional starting point and is scheduled for an early October launch.
Last season was brought to an unexpected early conclusion because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Steelers, having already ended a 17-year wait to win the Challenge Cup, were in a five-way battle for the league title and sitting second in the regular season standings when the season was cancelled.
As a result of the decision taken by the league, the traditional end-of-season playoffs were also scrapped.
Normally, the EIHL season starts in early September but, following a meeting of owners, it was agreed to aim for an October 3 start, opening up with a new Magic 5 Weekend format – similar to what rugby league’s Super League stages each year – which will be held at Nottingham’s National Ice Centre.
Aaron Fox is in the process of recruting his roster for the 2020-21 Elite League campaign, which has a provisional start date of October 3.
This will see five fixtures featuring all 10 teams staged across two days to mark the beginning of the regular league season. The Challenge Cup has been penciled in to start the following weekend. The Playoff Finals – also at the NIC – have provisionally been pushed back to the weekend of April 24 and 25, two weeks later than normal.
It remains to be seen, given the campaign’s slightly shorter timeframe, how many regular season games will tbe scheduled.
An EIHL statement read: “All of these dates are provisional and subject to government restrictions. The EIHL and its 10 teams will be working towards them, although with the caveat that both an extension or an easing of current government restrictions may bring further changes to this in the coming months.”
*Bradwell Skips will continue their player sponsorship next season.
“We felt it was important to let the Steelers know that we are still committed to the club despite the uncertainty going around at the moment and that we wanted to encourage other local businesses to follow suit and sign up with the Steelers as soon as possible,” said Bradwell Skips’ managing director Chris Slack.