Fixture congestion is a challenge that all major sporting leagues must contend with. From the English Premier League, to the F1 world championships, the frequency of events is only increasing, leading to the time between each necessarily decreasing. This is ultimately unsustainable, as it results in tired players, and increases the risk of injury over the course of a busy season. Each sport and governing body must balance the various concerns that drive the organisation of their sporting leagues in order to ensure top quality competition remains viable.
One of the foundational moves the vast majority of sporting bodies are actively implementing to safeguard against this risk of burnout is in timing domestic competitions so that they do not coincide or overlap with international tournaments. That is, the vast majority of sporting bodies, except, at present, the EIHL.
As Ice Hockey in the EIHL continues to crawl out from under the shadow of its much larger North American equivalent, we are likely to see increased interest and betting activity around the sport, especially among fans of the NHL, where betting is more established and commonplace even among UK-based fans. As awareness grows of the calibre of British ice hockey, more casual spectators may be moved to place a wager on its match-ups. This is especially so if they’re taking advantage of any of the numerous no deposit free bet offers available on reputable bookmakers that would mitigate the risk of doing so for those less familiar with the league and its teams.
As Americans and Canadians catch wind of the quality of hockey being played in the UK, this will only positively reflect on the league, and build it up in the eyes of the world hockey scene.
Much has been made of the fact that the EIHL does not permit even a week’s rest between these international and domestic events, with analysts pointing to this as potentially damaging for prospects of Team GB at the top flight of the sport. Of course, funding is at the heart of why these gaps in the fixture do not readily present themselves. But this suggests a lack of long term thinking. If the international squad is able to perform against some of the top talent in the NHL, this will only reflect positively on the EIHL and lead to greater ticket sales and sponsorship for the league at large. And that is really what the sport needs.