NIHL South in chaos after trio request relegation to lower league

The EIHA’s League Management Committee (LMC) for NIHL South has confirmed that Solent Devils, Oxford City Stars and Chelmsford Chieftains have asked to withdraw from Division 1.

A new structure for the southern section was agreed earlier this month, but the trio of clubs have since decided to request to drop into Division 2.

An LMC statement read: “After our meeting on 7th May, where the league was in such a positive place, it is desperately disappointing to see this happen.

“We would like to thank all three clubs for what they have brought to NIHL1 over the years and they will be truly missed.

“Several of these teams have requested relegation to NIHL 2. This will be considered by the LMC over the coming days and a full statement will be made at that time to include the agreed structure for NIHL1 and NIHL2 in the South.

“The LMC continues to speak with all of the member clubs in the NIHL South to reach a solution as soon as possible.

“Finally we thank the supporters of the teams for their patience in this difficult time and we will issue a further statement as quickly as we can.”

(Image permission: Steve Sutherland)


  1. There’s always been a tiered team financial disparity due to many reasons but I expect that it would be difficult to compete for players and run club’s if there’s not better plan laid in place to bridge the gaps and help the sport continue.
    More emphasis could be put to the league helping to attract and locate the sponsorships to support all divisions

  2. Did these 3 clubs not know about such issue’s before the format was agreed?. What a waste of time and o they all have to meet again to agree a new format? I follow Swindon Wildcats and it would be nice to have some clarity on what sort of league we might be playing in next season.

  3. As a chieftains fan I am stunned by this! I was looking forward to the future of the league…Now we have another step back, without rhyme nor reason

  4. All the club’s who have asked to be relegated all state they want to grow and move their hockey team forward. Surely playing in a more competitive league is in line with their aspirations.. …or has all the talk of progression just been a smoke screen for the fans who pay good money to watch them week in, week out.

  5. It’s all bulls**t, Chelmsford Chieftains are far to good for ED1, but not good enough for EPL.
    It’s why they have constantly refused promotion at every opportunity.
    How many times have they won ED1 now?
    There’s used to winning, and now some EPL teams have dropped down to ED1 there running away with there tail between there leg’s.
    Show’s just how good they are when some real competition comes along.
    But it’s OK…just so they can continue there winning ways they wish to go to ED2 so they can dominate lower class opposition.
    Maybe they should be relegated, but with the ruling that IF you win the league and are promoted, you no-longer have the choice of staying in that league…you now go up.

  6. From what I have read on the websites of Solent Devils and Oxford City Stars it seems that the structure that they agreed to was changed and this has effected there ability to meet the financial requirements that would come from the change to the structure that they say was agreed have I understood that right?.

  7. What a shame that once again the BIG teams have overstretched and cannot sustain there own league. They could not maintain the BNL some years ago so came crashing into the EPL which had been set up to provide a more competitive platform for sides such as Chelmsford, Romford and Invicta and so that the NIHL did not have a distinct two halves to its division. This was then gate crashed by the BNL sides that could not afford to go up when it collapsed and eventually the likes of Chelmsford and Romford ended up back in the NIHL 1, of course Chelmsford were made to go there via a season in NIHL 2!!! I don’t see the likes of Basingstoke or Swindon being made to do this. So why is it that when the big teams who have the big budgets mess it all up because they have a format that is unsustainable normally due to more money going out than coming in that they think they can just mess it up for those that are operating sensibly within sensible budgets?? Give it 2-3 years and MK lightning and Guildford will be in NIHL 1 because they are fed up with being beaten in the Elite league and crowds have dropped so revenue will drop and down they will come. As for the comment above about Chelmsford refusing promotion to the EPL, if you know your onions you would know its not a promotion and relegation format and its refused because the rink only holds a maximum of 1200 people which will not produce enough revenue to compete at that level. Secondly Invivta dominated for years, and prior to that Whightlink. The other question is how come none of these sides have to go to NHL2 and then come back up?? as per Chelmsford when they wanted to leave the EPL!! the answer is because they have Taggarts ear, and yes he should go sooner rather than later.

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