Could overseas ice hockey impact the EIHL?

The EIHL will enter its 17th season when the puck drops in September.

Teams across the league are putting together their squads for the new season and expectations are high around the EIHL for another year of growth. Ice hockey fans can follow the EIHL’s action with the Mybookie promo code and wager on their favourite teams as they fight for the league championship.

While the league continues to grow at a steady pace, one cannot help by feel threatened by possible invasions from hockey leagues outside of Great Britain. The NHL continues to eye countries in Europe and the KHL has even made attempts to move beyond its borders. Whether hockey fans follow the NHL or the EIHL, the Pinnacle VIP code gives them the chance to wager on their favorite team all season long. 

Is the NHL good for British ice hockey?

This year’s NHL Global Series will see games played in Sweden, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland. Each country has its own ice hockey league but fans will get to see NHL stars skate in the four Global Series games this autumn. 

Like other top-level American sports such as the NFL, Major League Baseball, and NBA, the NHL aims to have a regular overseas calendar. Regardless of professional ice hockey leagues being located in countries around the globe already, the NHL is hungry and wants to infiltrate new borders to play games and expose fans to its product. 

Russia’s KHL announced it would place an expansion team in London in 2017. The KHL sees itself as a rival to the NHL and wanted to colonize Great Britain before its American rival. A year after the KHL announced it would place a team in the English capital, the decision was “deferred” due to “increased risks” postponing expansion for now.

A saturated hockey market

Right now, there are only so many fans of ice hockey in Great Britain. This is shown by the attendances for EIHL games and the fact that many of the league’s players come from overseas. Any NHL or KHL team that plays games – or expands to Great Britain – will fight over the same fans until new ones can be made.

With more ice hockey on offer, the market becomes saturated and fans may choose to follow the bigger, more established NHL rather than the EIHL. Of course, the NHL and KHL could have the opposite effect. New fans could be created thus influencing more people to watch live EIHL games.

Will the NHL expand to London?

If you follow any of the top four North American sports leagues, you will know there have been rumours of them expanding or relocating franchises to London. 

The NFL has eyed London for some time and the possibility of a team sharing Tottenham Hotspurs’ new stadium is a possibility. The NBA seems to have scrapped ideas for now of any future expansion or games in London after last season. Major League Baseball recently had a successful series of games in London and the Wall Street Journal wrote that at least one team should explore relocating to the Big Smoke. 

The NHL will welcome a Seattle franchise in 2021. London could be the next port of call once Seattle is in the league. A 40-team NHL has been talked about but European expansion would need such an event to happen. 

If Great Britain did receive an expansion or relocated NHL team – such as the Florida Panthers – it would have a detrimental effect on the EIHL. At the very least, the league would be relegated to a lowly minor league status it may never be able to overcome.

1 Comment

  1. I don’t see a NHL or KHL team in London effecting the EIHL that much. The teams are mostly away from the city. As for players i understand there are still plans for the development of a twin Olympic size ice hockey pads at Lee valley, so hopefully London can start to produce some Liam kirk/Tony hand quality players. This will help our national side to stay in the world championships or at least division 1 pool A. And given time promote the sport to a larger UK population. What ice hockey in the UK really needs is the sport to be played professionally in more of the biggest city’s if you say London, Birmingham, liverpool, Bristol and Newcastle currently have no access to a local professional ice hockey team That’s shockingly almost 15 million people who could be potential fans. Indeed from statistics i have analysed over many years i believe at least 1% of the population within approx 30 minutes travel time will become the fan base of there local club. Cheers

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