NIHL confirm play-off weekend will crown national champions

The NIHL’s League Management Committee have confirmed there will be a National Play-off Championship weekend at the end of the 2017/18 season.

Over the last two weekends the South and North clubs have met to agree membership of their leagues and playing format for the regular season.

The LMC can now confirm that the play-offs will take place over a four week period at the end of the regular season, culminating in a Play-off Weekend at a central venue.

In both NIHL1 North and South the top eight teams will qualify for the play-offs. The first three rounds will be regionalised to achieve a North and South play-off champion.

The regional rounds will be a home and away two-legged, aggregate score tie.

The likely timetable will be:

Week 1 – Regional QF North 1 v 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6, 4 v 5, – Same format in the South
Week 2 – Regional SF North (1 or 8) v (4 or 5), (2 or 7) v (3 or 6) – Same format in the South
Week 3 – Regional Final North – Regional Final South
Week 4 – National Play-off Championship (weekend format)

The weekend will feature the two play-off finalists from NIHL North and South playing crossover semi-finals on the Saturday – North 1 v South 2, South 1 v North 2. The Grand Final will face-off on the Sunday.

There are likely to be other fixtures included in the weekend with more details to follow in due course as arrangements are firmed up.

The LMC are working hard with our stakeholders to confirm the date for this showpiece event – once everything is confirmed the details will be published across the usual platforms.

An NIHL spokesperson said: “This is an exciting development to celebrate the first season of a massively expanded National League.

“A play-off weekend is a fantastic way to end the season, and a huge part of British Ice Hockey’s traditions. The LMC are delighted to be able to achieve a joined up, National Finals weekend.

“We are grateful to our clubs for their unanimous support for the idea over the past two weeks at the section meetings and the LMC will work hard to confirm all details as soon as possible.”

(Image permission: Duncan Speirs)

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