NIHL confirm structure and formats for new season
The NIHL published news of its formats for the new season while the National Division was confirmed and ratified.
The new national division composed of ten teams will sit above the former divisions 1 and 2, which will continue to be regionalised to the north and south.
However, some divisions still have to sign the details of some Cup competitions and playoffs, but the details below are confirmed.
The ten NIHL National teams will be divided into two conferences to play in the regular season. Telford Tigers, MK Lightning, Sheffield Steeldogs, Hull Pirates and Leeds Chiefs form a conference.
Swindon's Wildcats, Bracknell Bees, Basingstoke Bison, Peterborough's Phantoms and Adventurers form the other.
The teams will play their own conference four times at home and away, while they will face the other conference twice at home and twice outside.
At the end of the regular season, the top eight teams in the overall standings will qualify for the playoffs. They will play in two groups of four, a home match and an away match, with the groups being 1st to 4th-5th-8th and 2nd to 3rd-6th-7th. The top two group teams will qualify for the weekend in Coventry.
There will also be a national cup where the first home game of each club against the other nine clubs will count for the qualifying standings. The top four of this table will qualify for the semi-finals of the cup. The best-placed qualifier will choose their opponent in the semi-finals, with the two remaining teams facing each other. The Cup should have reached at least the semifinals by the end of the calendar year.
The season will probably start on September 14th and 15th, and it has been confirmed that the NIHL National will continue to follow the same import rules as last year. Teams can make two "imports", only one allowed on the ice.
NIHL: Division 1 – South
It is confirmed that there are ten teams in this division for 19/20 – Invicta Dynamos, Streatham IHC, Thunder MK, Cardiff Fire, Slough Jets, Bracknell Hornets, Raiders 2, Solent Devils, Oxford City Stars and Chelmsford Chieftains.
The teams will play two home games and two away for the regular season, with the top eight teams qualifying for the post-season game. The exact format of the playoffs will be confirmed later.
A number of teams have expressed interest in a cup competition and discussions are underway.
NIHL: Division 2 – South
There are twelve teams in this division. Guildford Phoenix, Bracknell IHC 3, Bristol Pitbulls, Peterborough Phantoms 2, Invicta Mustangs, Haringey Huskies, Basingstoke Buffalo, Swindon Wildcats 2, Lee Valley Lions, Streatham Bruins, Solent Devils 2, Cardiff Fire 2. The second Cardiff team is accepted for ice time at their place of origin.
Once Cardiff's participation has been confirmed, the structure of the regular season will be announced, as will the playoffs.
There will be a South 2 Cup this season which will end with a final weekend of the Cup.
 . 1 – North
Seven teams will compete in this division for 19/20 – Solway Sharks, Whitley Warriors, Solihull Barons, Blackburn Hawks, Sutton Sting, Billingham Stars and Nottingham Lions.
The league season will be two-two, with the top six teams qualifying for the playoffs. This will take the form of two groups of three sides – 1st, 4th, 6th and 2nd, 3rd, 5th – playing a home and one on the outside to designate the semifinalists and so on.
There will be additional cup competitions including SNL's Murrayfield Racers and Dundee Comets as well as NIHL North 2's Widnes Wild. Teams will play in two groups of five. Solway, Whitley, Billingham, Murrayfield and Dundee in a group, Solihull, Blackburn, Sutton, Nottingham and Widnes in the other. The number of Cup matches has not yet been confirmed by the teams concerned. Each group will have their own playoffs to determine the winners of the cup.
NIHL: Division 2 – North
This division has nine teams: Widnes Wild, Telford Tigers 2, Hull Jets, Bradford Bulldogs, Sheffield Senators, Coventry Blaze, Deeside Dragons, Altrincham Aces and Blackburn Hawks 2.
North 2 clubs will play two home games and two away, with the first four teams qualifying for the playoffs.
The NIHL Division 1 and 2 seasons will probably start on September 7th and 8th. The winners of North 1 and South 1 will likely play the weekend in Coventry for a national championship game. There is also interest in the NIHL2 championship game that has played in Coventry over the past two years. NLMG are studying the options for this fixture.