August 2, 2021

The biggest division in the NIHL will begin its 21/22 season this September with 12 teams signed up for a single South 2 league campaign, replacing the East-West conferencing of previous seasons.

Basingstoke Buffalo, Bristol Pitbulls 2, Cardiff Fire, Chelmsford Warriors, Guildford Phoenix, Haringey Huskies, Invicta Mustangs, Lee Valley Lions, Peterborough Phantoms 2, Solent Junior Devils, Streatham Black Hawks and Swindon Wildcats 2 make up the division this autumn.

Regular season play, one home and one away against other teams, runs from September 18 to April 3. The top eight sides from the regular season will play two legged playoff quarter finals 1v8 2v7 3v6 4v5 over April 9-10 with the winners making Finals Weekend on April 16-17 2022.

A Cup competition is still to be formally confirmed, however it’s likely to be the first league game between the teams counting towards cup qualification, This will lead to two legged semi finals in December and a two legged final in January.

Last year’s S2 West champions, Guildford Phoenix, are ready for the expanded format, as head coach Andy Hemmings said: “Guildford Phoenix management, coaching staff and players are extremely excited and raring to go for the upcoming season. It has been a long time since we played our last game and we can’t wait to hit the ice in front of our fans.

“We want to thank everyone involved in the EIHA for getting everything up and running and good luck to everyone for the new season!”

The S2 East champions from 19/20 Haringey Huskies played in the behind-closed-doors series earlier this year against S1 opposition. GM Lee Mercer commented: “We at the Huskies are excited to be getting back into league action and getting hockey back regularly at Alexandra Palace for the fans and the players alike.

“With it being one league this should be exciting times for the teams going into this campaign as we all need to bring it week in week out! But for ice hockey as a sport in U.K. this is great news for the sport as a whole.”

Bristol Pitbulls with their new facility are taking a place in both NIHL South divisions this year, co-owner Richard Hargreaves added: “We are looking forward like many others to the thrills and spills of our beloved ice hockey returning this September . We are very much excited as club to be once again participating in both the South 1 and South 2 divisions and looking forward to our new chapter here in Bristol.”

Work is underway between clubs and the NIHL fixtures secretary and the schedule will be published as soon as it is available.

Pre-season – September 11-12 2021
Regular season start – September 18 2021
Regular season end – April 3 2022
Cup semi finals – December 4/5 11/12 2021
Cup Final – January 8/9 15/16 2022
Playoff Quarter Final Round – April 9-10 2022
Playoff Finals Weekend – April 16-17 2022

📸 Photo credit: Jill Howgate/Phil Hutchinson

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