He’s here! FreeSports broadcaster and commentator Aaron Murphy will be here every couple of weeks to answer your questions on the burning issues in ice hockey in the United Kingdom.
We had some good ones for you this week so keep them coming by contacting us through social media @BritIceHockey and use the hashtag #AskMurphBIH.
You can also follow Murph on Twitter @MurphOnIce and watch FreeSports on Sky Channel 422, Virgin Media Channel 553, on Channel 64 on Freeview and BT and on Freesat Channel 252.
Mike Wright @detroit97 on Twitter: There is now a massive gap between the NIHL and EIHL with very little opportunity to step up. What would be your answer to how we will develop British talent going forward?
Murph: In a perfect world we’d see an U20 league. There are teams that have discussed this and are willing to jump in.
If you look at Sweden every SHL team has a U20 team that uses the same systems and philosophies, so when younger players are called up to the senior side they slot right in.
As I said, that’s in a perfect world. But if you want the game to progress then you look at countries and strategies that are proven and having that U20 league would be huge, even if it was just five or six teams and an agreement to develop within with a path to higher levels.
This, of course, all takes money, so we can live in hope. At the moment I’d agree the gap between NIHL and EIHL is massive, so good youngsters may have to look at going further afield to learn and progress and we see this already with some of the top U18 and U20’s.
There are clubs like Manchester that are working with youth and giving kids that hope of a path to better levels, so there is good work being done as well like that.
Phil (@PhilP4lmer): Can you see the NHL coming to the UK in the near future? What with the NFL, NBA and now the MLB here?
I’ve actually spoken with the NHL about this recently. They are aware of the foothold that the NFL, NBA and next summer MLB are generating with games in London.
In my opinion they need to do that, and I’ve voiced that opinion. Time will tell but I’d predict they will play in London again in future.
The past few seasons Asia and the Nordics were priority for NHL, and we saw overseas games in those regions as a result.
Joe Raine: Favourite match this year?
Have loved all the EIHL broadcasts this year, but if I have to pick a moment or storyline, then it would be Ben O’Connor returning from Sweden and getting the overtime winner on Halloween.
Having that game, that moment live on FreeSports was a great advertisement for the sport. And the viewer feedback was brilliant.
daddyanddowns: Which set of fans makes the most noise in the EIHL?
Wherever we’ve been this year for TV games, the fans and clubs have been great. Probably the loudest moment was when Cardiff scored a short-handed goal against Vaxjo in the CHL earlier this season.
Joey Martin’s shortie gave the Devils a 3rd period lead at Viola Arena and the noise was deafening.
FreeSports: Best sports channel for Ice Hockey?
Haha – no question FreeSports! To have SHL, KHL, CHL, EIHL, IIHF, Spengler Cup and NHL all on free-to-air TV is nothing short of sheer brilliance for hockey fans.
When I first moved over to this part of the world I remember getting excited for an NHL game a week, or once in a while a highlight show. Now we have live hockey on almost every day.
It’s brilliant exposure and a great commitment to the sport from FreeSports.