New National League announced

A new 10-team National League has been announced by the EIHA, effectively succeeding the Premier League which was disbanded in 2017.

The division will sit above the existing NIHL Division 1 in North and South.

The majority of the teams are those that were forced to drop in to the NIHL divisions following the collapse of the EPL, including Basingstoke Bison, Bracknell Bees, Hull Pirates, Peterborough Phantoms, Sheffield Steeldogs, Swindon Wildcats and Telford Tigers.

Milton Keynes Lightning, who along with Guildford Flames stepped up to the Elite League at the time, will also be in the new division after two seasons in the EIHL.

A team that last played in the EPL back in 2010, Romford Raiders, are also in the new division as is a new team based out of the new Leeds ice rink.

The director of the EIHA Senior Leagues, Paul Hayes, said: “Today was a very positive meeting and the conclusion of several weeks of consultation and dialogue between the league management and our clubs.

“The structure agreed today is something of a step back to move forward, but it will be a sustainable model at all three levels with competitive games in all divisions.

“Myself and the NLMG are grateful to the clubs for their patience, support and input into the process and we look forward to an exciting end to our current NIHL season and starting work towards 19/20.”

National League: Basingstoke Bison, Bracknell Bees, Hull Pirates, Leeds, MK Lightning, Peterborough Phantoms, Raiders, Sheffield Steeldogs, Swindon Wildcats and Telford Tigers.

NIHL South Division 1: Invicta Dynamos, MK Thunder, Streatham, Chelmsford Chieftains, Solent Devils, Slough Jets, Oxford City Stars, Bracknell Hornets, Raiders Juniors.  A tenth team is to be confirmed.

NIHL North Division 1: Solway Sharks, Whitley Warriors, Solihull Barons, Sutton Sting, Blackburn Hawks, Billingham Stars, Nottingham Lions.  An eighth team is to be confirmed.

A separate North Cup competition will also take place featuring Murrayfield Racers and Dundee Comets from the Scottish National League.  Full details of this competition will be confirmed in due course.

NIHL South Division 2: Guildford Phoenix, Bristol Pitbulls, Cardiff Fire, Peterborough Phantoms 2, Haringey Huskies, Invicta Mustangs, Basingstoke Buffalo, Swindon Wildcats 2, Lee Valley Lions, Solent 2, Streatham 2.

NIHL North Division 2: Widnes Wild, Hull Jets, Sheffield Senators, Bradford Bulldogs, Coventry Blaze, Dragons, Altrincham Aces, Blackburn Hawks 2, Telford Tigers 2.

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