The owners of the current EPL teams met on Sunday. From the outset it is important to understand that all of the owners, as a collective, are driven to ensure that the league works as a viable competition for the long term future of the sport. That it has stability and also develops as an on ice product, providing a place to truly develop the best of British talent.
This was the basis which shaped the meeting on Sunday and it was the shared vision of all of the owners which helped it to be such a productive morning.
The key points to come out of the meeting are:
- 7 teams have committed to participating next season, ensuring the future of the league.
- There will be a name change to “Premier Ice Hockey League” to reflect a new beginning and growing opportunities for participation.
- The non-British trained player numbers will drop to three, giving British talent the chance to develop, as well as trying to bring financial stability to the league.
- In the season 2019/20 season only British trained goalies will be allowed.
- The bankruptcy ruling agreed at the last meeting will form part of the rules of competition from season 2017/18.
What can be instantly seen is the commitment to the league and a commitment to longevity which will develop an exciting breed of talented young players.
The structure of the league and cup competitions will largely remain the same, although there are some finer details to be worked out, and the owners will meet again at the end of March to finalise these. Following this meeting there is a desire to have everything in place, and announced, by the Play-off Finals weekend so that owners, players, sponsors and fans have full confidence in the league as a viable and successful model.
This is an exciting time for the Premier Ice Hockey League, and the sport within the UK, after what has been a challenging year. There has been a recognition that our outlook has to evolve in order for our game to evolve, the only way to do this is to invest in our British players and provide them with the best environment in which to thrive and develop.
We are actively looking to expand as a league and are hoping that the changes, and commitments made, will encourage other clubs and teams to join us in providing a stable and exciting future.
We, as a league, are fully committed to making this a reality, we are driven to succeed and ask fans across the country to join and support us in our vision.