The Elite Ice Hockey League (sometimes called British Elite League) is an ice hockey league in the United Kingdom. The league commenced its 2023-24 regular season last September 22, 2023, and will end on April 1, 2024. The preparation for the Knockout Stages or the Playoffs will be completed by April 13, 2024 (Saturday).
The seedings for the 2024 Playoffs will be based on the final standings of the 2023-24 regular season. As exciting as it can be, this particular event is still a few weeks ahead. Until then, here are a few things you should look forward to in the season’s remaining weeks.
The Belfast Giants (or the Stena Line Belfast Giants) are a Belfast, Northern Ireland pro team. This team has the most championship titles out of all other teams in the league. After winning last season’s title, the Belfast Giants brought home their seventh win. The Giants are still the favourite to win the finals this time. One unfortunate loss that this team has suffered was the overtime agony against the Coventry Blaze.
A lot of drama has happened inside the ice, leaving Kohei Sato heartbroken. As of writing this article, the Belfast Giants are in the fifth rank with 16 points compared to Sheffield Steelers’ 22, making them more than qualified for the Playoffs.
Despite ranking low compared to others, many fans are still hoping for a grand comeback and win as an underdog.
Next on the list is the Cardiff Devils (Diawliaid Caerydd in Welsh), which are the next favourite team to win this season with good odds on FanDuel Sportsbook. This team plays at Ice Arena Wales in Cardiff Bay. This team has played considerably well even after winning the 2022 EIHL Playoff Title, but it has yet to win any EIHL championship title after their regular season title last 2017-18 season.
However, looking at their current rank in second place with 19 points, just three points below the Sheffield Steelers, it would be fitting to hope for another title. Still, the Devils feel pressure as they chase the current lead. If they don’t cave into the stress and pressure, fans might be able to witness one of Cardiff’s best seasons.
The Sheffield Steelers have been in the spotlight ever since they claimed the top spot this season. At the time of writing this article, the team has amassed an impressive 22 points with an outstanding goal difference of +28. However, despite their remarkable performance, it seems that the majority of fans have a preference for teams other than the Steelers.
This relates to how they performed in the past years and that their last title was in the 2015-16 season, around seven years ago. However, with their current rank, they can redeem themselves and finally bring home their well-deserved title. On the other hand, there are still a few weeks left, and a few games are all it takes to overturn the rankings, especially with Cardiff Devils just close by.
There’s nothing much to discuss with Coventry Blaze regarding their achievements. Since the league’s formation in 2003, the Blaze has hardly won anything except their four regular season titles in 2004-05, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2009-10, and Playoff championships in 2004-05 and 2014-2015. As you can see, it’s been a long time since then, but their performance has changed significantly in the last few years.
This was evident as they faced another winning game against Belfast Giants, which became their fourth win streak last December 9 (Saturday). The game was exhilarating and put a lot of fans on edge. The excitement continued to the last minute as both teams were tied until the final 45 seconds of the game, until Alessio Luciani slotted home.
This win is more significant because it’s been two years since the Blaze has won over Belfast. The team might have a chance in the playoffs if they keep up their winning streak.
The Dundee Stars are not too far behind Coventry Blaze regarding titles achieved. The Stars only won one regular season title in 2001-02 and a conference title in 2013-14. However, there might be a reason why fans are looking forward to the Dundee Stars winning the finals despite their record.
Like the other teams, Dundee has also played remarkably well and is in fourth rank, a place above the defending champion, Belfast Giants, with 16 points on the line. The Dundee Stars might be able to showcase more of their upgrades once they make it through the knockout stages and the playoffs. For now, fingers crossed that they will continue to win and bring home the title.
The 2023-24 EIHL regular season has been nothing short of surprising for fans, with many teams displaying remarkable advancements in their skills. Unexpected teams have emerged, adding excitement to the remaining weeks of the season. As a result, predicting the title winner has become increasingly unpredictable due to the unexpected improvement shown by all. So, if you’re a fan, buckle up and enjoy the thrilling journey that lies ahead in the coming weeks.