July 31, 2021

Almost 18 months since Streatham IHC clinched a league and cup double, the puck will drop again for the clubs in NIHL South 1 with a nine strong cast list ready to do battle.

Bristol Pitbulls, Chelmsford Chieftains, Invicta Dynamos, MK Thunder, Oxford City Stars, Romford Junior Raiders, Slough Jets, Solent Devils and defending champions Streatham IHC will make up the division from September.

The clubs will play two home and two away against each other to complete the league campaign which starts on September 11th and runs through until April 10th.

Playoffs will see the top eight teams qualify for the quarter final round, played as a two-legged tie (1v8 2v7 3v6 4v5) over the weekend of April 16&17. The winners will then play at the South 1 Finals Weekend on April 23 and 24.

League champions from South 1 will also face off in a National Championship game against the North 1 league winners at Coventry on Sunday May 1 as part of the National Finals Weekend.

The cup competition will see the first league game home and away in the schedule also count towards the Cup standings. The semi finals will be over two legs in early/mid December, with the Cup Final also over two legs scheduled between 8 and 16 January 2022.

Bristol Pitbulls return to the top division this year but also their home city in a new rink. Co-owner Richie Hargreaves said: “For many of us the last 18 months has felt like a life time of no hockey. Here in Bristol it pretty much has been that and a lifetime out of the city.

“We are looking forward like many others to the thrills and spills of our beloved ice hockey this September. We are very much excited as a club to be once again participating in South 1 and looking forward to our new chapter here in Bristol.

“But I think most of all is the return of that sixth player the fans who bring the energy night in night out which can only be found in our sport.”

Ben Pitchley, Romford Junior Raiders GM and head of hockey operations added: “After the longest lay off ever, we are just glad to be able to get back on the ice, and fingers crossed, playing in front of fans again!”

One of the teams who played in our behind-closed-doors spring series, MK Thunder, are celebrating a special anniversary this season. GM Lauren Cox commented: “The coming season marks 20 years of Thunder and we’re excited to be competing in a nine team league. The Spring and Rugged Stock Cup enabled us to play alongside and against some great talent, which has added more depth to our experience. Welcome to Bristol, we look forward to seeing their brand new rink.”

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

NIHL SOUTH 1 KEY DATES:
Pre-season – September 4-5 2021
Regular season start – September 11 2021
Regular season end – April 10 2022
Cup semi finals – December 4/5 11/12 2021
Cup Final – January 8/9 15/16 2022
Playoff quarter finals – April 16-17 2022
Playoff Finals Weekend – April 23-24 2022
National Final v N1 champion – May 1 2022

Tomorrow (Sunday) will see the breakdown of the 21/22 lineup for the North 2 division.

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