The English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA) are sorry to announce that this evening’s game between Invicta and Wightlink is the final game of the season for the Raiders NIHL South 1 team.

Following the loss of access to Ryde Arena, Raiders management have sought ice time at alternative rinks but this has not been successful.

A statement from Wightlink Raiders said: “We cannot find enough ice time to continue functioning, and without games we cannot survive financially.

“The players were the first to be informed and I know that they are as devastated as we are with this situation.

“There are so many people to thank for their support.”

The Raiders statement went on to list the fans, volunteers, players and coach Jeremy Cornish before concluding: “While the short term is hard to bear we would like you all to know that we have not and will not give up and will continue working towards the future to get ice hockey and skating back on our island.”

NIHL South Chair and EIHA Director Paul Hayes said: “It’s a sad day for hockey today with the loss of a club and it’s teams from a venue.

“Credit must be given to the Trust in all their efforts to achieve a positive result.

“The EIHA will continue to support its members and hope that in the future a successful outcome can be achieved and hockey return to the island.”

While the Raiders have withdrawn from NIHL South Division 1 it is hoped that the Wightlink Buccaneers who play in NIHL South 2 can complete their season playing away games for double points.  Full details on this will follow in the coming days.

The junior club at the IOW rink have not yet made a decision on their future, having set a provisional deadline of December 1.

NIHL League officials confirmed that the results of the Raiders will be expunged from the 2016/17 season records in NIHL South Division 1 League and Cup competitions.

Wightlink Raiders own statement is reproduced in full below.

Statement from Wightlink Raiders

It is with extremely heavy hearts that we have to announce the end of Raiders ice hockey for this season.

Jeremy, Geoff and myself have been forced to make this sad decision as we cannot find enough ice time to continue functioning, and without games we cannot survive financially.

The players were the first to be informed and I know that they are as devastated as we are with this situation.

There are so many people to thank for their support.

Starting with the League, their understanding and help has been great and we thank them for that, especially Richard Carpenter and Paul Hayes.

Many thanks too for the fantastic support from all the teams in our league and the hockey community in general.

Thanks of course to our incredibly supportive and loyal fans plus all the many helpers who put in endless hours behind the scenes making hockey possible week after week.

We know that you are as gutted as we are and  after so many years there will now be huge gap in all our lives.

And finally, possibly the most important people in this sorry scenario .. Jeremy and the team.

Jeremy Cornish has given us our best ever years, as player/coach and then such an amazing start to this season as coach.  He will definitely go down as one of the Raiders all time greats .. thanks mate.

Under the leadership of Jeremy, and backed up so well by Bill Webb, the team  seems to have got better every year and we have been so lucky to have a really great group of players who not only consistently give of their best on ice but have also been a great group of people to be around.

We are proud to have had each and every one of them as Raiders and after such a  solid start feel we’ve been robbed not only of watching their talents develop but also  what could have been our best ever season.

While the short term is hard to bear we would like you all to know that we have not and will not give up and will continue working towards the future to get Ice Hockey / Skating etc back on our island.

However, for the time being it is with great sadness the Wightlink Raiders are now signing off.

Steve Price
Wightlink Raiders