The Monday After: Growing the product
Cultivate the product
With the 10-team Elite League this year, would it be a good thing to consider expanding these numbers again, if some teams want it and are ready for it?
There was great excitement in 2017 when Guildford Flames and Milton Keynes Lightning took a step forward in the English Premier League as it collapsed and having the 12 certainly gave fans some thing to appreciate.
Keep in mind that the Edinburgh Capitals were still there too and although they struggled in what turned into their last season, so MK well documented released forcing them to withdraw from the NIHL National League, is it worth watching what's going on there?
It can be said that ten clubs are a good number and with the financial requirements of playing at the Elite level, does not stretch things ridiculously in terms of travel and other expenses.
Divisions in the conference system also helped with this, but now that everyone plays the same number of times, this may be fine, especially for low-end budget teams.
But if the league were to develop, who exactly could come and add to the league, assuming they have the right resources not only to get in, but to compete at a reasonable level?
We have heard so much about the team from London, but they have been very calm on this front for quite some time. Does it always happen? Has talking about a London-based KHL team silenced that for now? We just don't know.
Todd Kelman revealed at the EIHL supporters forum, which took place during the playoff weekend last year, which the Dutch club Tilburg Trappers applied and then took of. If it had been done, it would really have been a good addition.
The Murrayfield Racers wanted to join the EIHL and replace the Edinburgh Capitals, who saw a messy divorce at the time and Tony Hand was always honest to admit that it was was something they would watch, but with them, walking around the SNL, they they revisit it again?
There was a possibility that a team from Aberdeen, who, I am led to believe, had looked into the possibility from a distance, but either retained or abandoned the idea altogether.
Can you imagine the return of having four Scottish teams in the league and reestablishing this four-way rivalry again? It would be something.
Would a Dublin-based team be something that EIHL would explore, if someone came forward to offer it? It would be at least a competition for the Belfast Giants and would be as big a rivalry as Nottingham -Sheffield and Glasgow-Fife, I think.
MK fans would like to go back on the higher end and I know some have been disappointed with the decision to give up, but who knows under the right circumstances and under, dare I say, much better owners.
There are avenues to explore and the league, which invited the candidates for next season a few months ago, will no doubt keep its options open if it is asked.
Something everyone will agree on, whoever enters, must be prepared for it and get going. Nothing less could be problematic for the reputation of the league in the future.
I didn't get a chance to write this last week, but I wanted to send my best wishes to Tom Darnell, who retired as an Elite League referee around the New Year.
He has been wearing stripes for 22 years and has seen and done many things in his time in the different leagues and teams that he has officiated over the seasons.
As many will agree, Tom is undoubtedly one of the good guys and his departure is a big loss for ice hockey, taking this experience with him.
From a media perspective, it was always great to deal with. I remember when I worked for the league, he was good enough to do a Twitter Q&A for us, so I basically gave him my laptop and I gave it up. He must have dealt with at least 50 questions, good, bad and indifferent.
I couldn't believe my eyes on Twitter yesterday afternoon when I read that the Glasgow Clan fans had been moved to a higher level of Sheffield's Fly DSA Arena in the Steelers game … because they were too noisy.
Based on the information I had after the match, a health and safety complaint was made to the club, which was required to do so and did so, which means that around forty travel media have been moved.
Although the Steelers were right to follow up on a complaint, particularly with regard to H&S, that still leaves questions.
First, why was a crowd of about 40 people, with drums, louder than when the building had 9,200 last week?
And why was it deemed more necessary and more efficient to move 40 people than to provide alternative seats for the embarrassed person (s)?
To be clear, a complaint of this nature had to be dealt with by the Steelers, so I don't blame them entirely, so I understand why they acted, but at first glance, it doesn't seem like the best solution. was reached.