Ice hockey to benefit from government support

DCMS have pledged £4 million to help ice hockey as a result of Covid 19

Ice hockey in the UK stands to benefit after the Department of Culture, Media and Sport pledged to help with a £4 million allocation.

The sport has been crippled since the coronavirus impacted on the country since March and has seen the Elite League and SNL announce their seasons were to be suspended for 2020/21.

The money is part of a £300 million ‘Winter Survival Package’ spread across a multiple amount of sports across the country.

While the release stated the Elite League would benefit from the £4 million, EIHL chairman Tony Smith says they are seeking clarification on how these funds will be allocated.

“The Elite League is delighted that the government has recognised the importance of ice hockey across the UK and that the EIHL has been included in this unprecedented support package,” he said. 

“We still need to find out further details from DCMS about how exactly the funding is to be allocated and used before we can make further comment, but would like to recognise the work done behind the scenes by IHUK, the EIHA and within the EIHL to ensure that our sport was not left out. 

EIHL Chairman Tony Smith is seeking clarification on how the cash will be spent (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

“We need to take a look at the finer details of the support package available, and how it should be used, before we can make any further comment about what this means going forward. 

“It will be important for us to understand how much of the funding is made up of grants or loans, as that will have a large impact on how we can proceed, together with any additional requirements we need to fulfil from Sport England who will now take control of the funding process.

“We would also like to thank DCMS for their guidance and support in recent months, which has been invaluable.”

It’s important to note full details of the support available will be confirmed after further discussion with DCMS and Sport England. 

At present the funding support is aimed at the Elite League to cover losses directly caused by spectators being locked out of venues.

While largely welcomed, fans of the NIHL were left wondering if they will receive some significant financial backing to assist them.

EIHA director Andrew Miller remains hopeful the lower ranks in UK hockey will benefit in the fullness of time and revealed they’re waiting for the next step in the process.

Nigel Huddleston MP, the UK Government Sports Minister, was part of the announcement to help sport with a £300 million “Survival Package” (PHOTO: nigelhuddleston.com)

“This is an unprecedented support package for ice hockey and our thanks go to colleagues in DCMS that we have been working with over the last two months in getting us to this point,” he said.  

“It is an obvious disappointment that the National Ice Hockey League is not yet included in this support, but we should focus on the positive of receiving significant funding and the door still open for us to discuss what other support our sport needs.

“We await both the details of the package on offer presently in addition to the process being administered by Sport England to confirm next steps with our clubs and these discussions will likely need to take place within other home nations due to the devolved nature of sport for both the EIHL and the NIHL.”

In a statement, the EIHA and IHUK will continue to work with stakeholders in the EIHL and NIHL and we appreciate the support being announced by Nigel Huddleston, the Sports Minister, for supporting our sport at this crucial time.

While the announcement largely covered English clubs and governing bodies, they stated devolved governments will decide how they use extra funds they’ve been allocated.

It said: “The DCMS stated the devolved administrations have been provided with an upfront guarantee this year of £16 billion above their Spring Budget 2020 funding to support their response to Covid-19. 

“It is for the devolved administrations to decide how to use this funding irrespective of how UK government provides support in England.”

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