EIHA Press Release 8th July 2015
The English Premier Ice Hockey League is pleased to welcome new team Hull Pirates for the 2015-2016 season bringing league membership back to 10 teams and allowing us to revert to the more traditional 54 game league and cup schedule. A twist to the playoff pairings and 3 on 3 overtime are highlights of other changes for an exciting season to come.
League and Cup action will commence on September 12th and all teams team will play each opponent on 6 occasions, 3 home and 3 away, in the league season. The first home and away league games against each contestant will also serve as Cup matches so 4 points will be at stake in those games; 2 points for the cup table and 2 for the league. All games that are tied after regulation time will be followed by 5 minutes of a 3 against 3 sudden death overtime session with penalty shootouts to follow if the teams remain deadlocked. The top 4 teams from the combined Cup/League matches will advance to the Cup semi-finals (1st v 4th and 2nd v 3rd), which will be staged on a home and away two leg aggregate basis in January 2016. The winners of the semi-finals will compete in the two leg aggregate Premier Cup Final in February.
At the conclusion of the 54 game schedule, the league champions will join the 2nd through 8th place clubs in the playoff quarter finals on the weekend of March 26th and 27th 2016. Each quarter final will be an aggregate two leg home and away weekend with the winners advancing to the playoff finals weekend in Coventry on April 2nd and 3rd . The playoff quarter final match ups will be related to final league table placements but will no longer follow the automatic seeding procedure. Selecting in order of highest league table placement the top 3 teams will have the option to choose their quarter final opponent from any playoff qualifying clubs. A selection outside of another top 4 team will also allow a top 4 club to choose their home leg quarter final date but that right will be lost if they select another top 4 team.
One additional change is that home fans should get the chance to see their teams in different colours this season. The basic guideline will be that home teams will wear dark colours until Christmas and light colours thereafter but they will be able to change this by prior agreement with their opponents if they wish.
Ken Taggart, Chairman of the English Premier Ice Hockey League, welcomed the changes and said
“It’s taken a little time and a lot of work behind the scenes but it’s great to see the EPIHL back to ten teams and likely to be better and more competitive than ever before. The future is looking bright for the league but nobody will be sitting back congratulating themselves. We need to keep on moving forwards and I know everybody involved with this league is determined to do that.”
Season fixtures are in the works and will be announced in the coming weeks.