EXCLUSIVE: Top flight set to play

Four Elite League teams could be set to play in a short format tournament scheduled for April.

It’s news top flight ice hockey fans will be delighted to hear as the sport gradually returns to action after a year of inactivity due to the coronavirus.

British Ice Hockey understands Nottingham Panthers, Sheffield Steelers, Coventry Blaze and Manchester Storm will play each other in a series of games at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham.

How the format will exactly be laid out is unknown at this time, but it would serve as a timely fitness boost for GB players ahead of the World Championships in Riga later this year.

All Elite League games in the proposed competition would be played at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena (PHOTO: Motorpoint Arena)

Further information regarding the game schedule and safety measures, not to mention the make up of the rosters is unclear at this time, but the fact there will be action is another positive sign of ice hockey’s recovery in a post Covid world.

Currently, five NIHL teams are contesting the Spring Cup while four teams each from NIHL North and NIHL South are embarking on their competitions as part of the ‘Return to Play’ scheme.

EIHL teams were hopeful of playing earlier this year with the help of £4 million set aside by the government and Sport England.

They failed in their bid to obtain these funds, but British Ice Hockey has asked DCMS if there was a further application from the EIHL to assist in helping put this competition on and whether or not this was successful.  As yet, DCMS are yet to respond.

But the return of the Elite League in this format will be a welcome precursor before presumably a possible full restart for the 2021-22 season.

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