News

Closer competition next season

Saturday, 26th April 2008

The bmibaby Elite Ice Hockey League 2007-08 season finished with the stunning playoff finals at the start of April. September will see the next competitive game and already plans are well under way for clubs to enhance the competition and deliver even greater entertainment for the fans.

The 2007-08 season saw all but one of the ten teams make it through to either the semi-finals of the two cup competitions or the final four teams at the playoff weekend. Most of the competitions were decided by the narrowest of margins and even required penalty shootouts.

The silverware was shared out between the Coventry Blaze, Nottingham Panthers and the Sheffield Steelers. For the first time in many years, both the Basingstoke Bison and Edinburgh Capitals reached the semi-finals of the British Knock-Out Cup with Basingstoke narrowly defeated in the final by Coventry.

However always wanting to improve the offering to fans, sponsors and the clubs, the league have adopted a new plan which should see the competition within league games even closer when the 2008-09 season gets under way.

Therefore, the teams that finished in the top four places in 2007-08, namely Coventry, Sheffield, Nottingham and Belfast, will continue to ice with a maximum of ten International Transfer Card (ITC) players on their respective rosters in season 2008-09. The teams that finished outside the top four in the 2007-08 regular season will have the option to ice an eleventh ITC player to provide additional depth to their rosters for 2008-09.

Chairman of the Elite League Eamon Convery said on Saturday, "Clubs are very supportive of the initiative as they all wish to see teams perform both home and away at the highest possible standards. Tight competitive games are important to keep fans excited about how their team is likely to perform. We all are confident this initiative will deliver an even better product on the ice for both home and away fans."

Director of Hockey Andy French stated, "It is great to see clubs who are naturally competitors on the ice working together and understanding that the closer the competitiveness is, the better it will be for the league."

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The Elite League are changing the International Transfer Card rules for next season.


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