The 2016/17 EPL play-offs could be set to take place without Telford Tigers.
BIH understands that some rival club owners want the EIHA to exclude the Tigers from the end-of-season shoot-out as “punishment” for Telford Ice Sports Ltd being placed into voluntary liquidation last November.
The club retained its league status after a consortium of local businesses acquired its assets and agreed to fund its operations moving forward.
Despite there being no provision in the rules of competition for retrospective action to be taken against the Tigers, sources have told BIH that at least one club plans to refuse to allocate tickets to the team’s fans if the EIHA allow the Shropshire-based outfit to take their place in the play-offs.
With EIHA chairman Ken Taggart declining to comment to BIH on the matter, the Tigers are expected to write to the governing body to ask for written confirmation that they will not be banned from the post-season showdown.
While Taggart remains the league’s figurehead the EPL has been operating slightly differently this season, closely following the model adopted by the Elite League where each club holds an equal share and decisions are made by a board consisting of the club owners.
Despite the changes the EPL has been beset by a series of problems over the past few months.
Last summer saw Bracknell Bees and Manchester Phoenix face worries over finances and facilities, while MK Lightning confirmed they would be joining the Elite League from next season.
The problems for Manchester have continued throughout the campaign, with the club currently looking set to fold unless a new owner can be found following Neil Morris’ departure.
With no rule currently in place to punish a club over its financial conduct, a play-off ban for the Tigers could further dent the league’s already shaky credibility and increase the calls for a revised second tier in Britain.
Ice Hockey UK boss Richard Grieveson is set to meet with clubs from across the country next week to discuss proposals to radically change the current set-up.
(Image permission: Steve Brodie)