NIHL: Confirmation of D1&2 structure and formats. The National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) is pleased to confirm the membership and format of our regional NIHL competitions, namely Division 1 North (Moralee), Division 1 South (Britton), and Division 2 North (Laidler) and Division 2 South (Wilkinson).
A total of 38 teams will compete in the four divisions starting in September, with League, Cup and Playoff trophies up for grabs.
In all divisions, the regular season opens on the weekend of September 10/11 with the post-season in late March to early April 2023. Each division will conclude with a Finals Weekend at a central venue as last year.
DIVISION 1 SOUTH (BRITTON): there are eight teams in this division following Bristol’s step up to the National Division and once again the aim is to challenge the Streatham Redhawks in defence of their titles. It’s a 2H 2A format in the league, with additional Britton Cup games against sides in the respective group. Group A is Chelmsford, Invicta, Oxford and Streatham. Group B is Milton Keynes, Romford, Slough and Solent. The top two teams from each group will play in the semi-finals, 1st A v 2nd B and vice versa.
As with all Cup competitions this year, the semi-finals are scheduled over two legs in mid-January, with a two-legged Final in late February.
All eight sides will take part in the post-season, with two-legged quarter-finals leading to a Finals Weekend over April 8/9.
DIVISION 1 NORTH (MORALEE): the eight returning sides welcome a familiar face into the fold as Deeside Dragons are back for 22/23. League, playoff and National champions Solway Sharks will defend their titles, while Widnes Wild have the “under new ownership” signs up but are ready to protect their Cup and challenge for more. This division to has a 2H 2A format for league fixtures, though there are no separate fixtures for the Moralee Cup. All nine teams will compete for the Cup with the first game home and away counting to the Cup standings. The top four from the nine-team group will play in the semi-finals, 1v4 and 2v3 over two legs.
For the post-season, the top eight will play in the quarter-final round (1v8 2v7 3v6 4v5) with the Finals Weekend on April 8/9.
Once again the respective league champions of Britton and Moralee will playoff for the National Championship in Coventry on Sunday, April 16.
DIVISION 2 SOUTH (WILKINSON): the biggest division in the NIHL returns with a cast of 13 for the new season with a much-changed Guildford Phoenix defending the trophies with a host of hungry challengers. The league schedule is 1H 1A in Wilkinson. Every team plays in the Wilkinson Cup, though there are no separate games. Like Moralee, the first home and away game count to the Cup standings. The Wilkinson Cup is split into two groups for the qualification round. Group A: Bristol, Guildford, Invicta, Peterborough, Solent, Swindon. Group B: Basingstoke, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Haringey, Lee Valley, Oxford, Streatham. The top two sides in each Cup group will play crossover semi-finals 1st A v 2nd B and vice versa.
Playoffs in the division will feature the top eight in two-legged quarter-finals (1v8 2v7 3v6 4v5), leading to the Finals Weekend on April 1/2.
DIVISION 2 NORTH (LAIDLER): one of the most competitive divisions in the NIHL, Laidler returns with the same eight teams as last campaign. Telford Tigers will put their league title up for grabs again, while Hull Jets ended last campaign with Laidler Cup and Playoff honours. It promises to be another exciting campaign. The league fixtures are based on 2H 2A. The Laidler Cup features two groups but there are no stand-alone fixtures, the first game home and away will count to the Cup table. Group A: Bradford, Coventry, Sutton, Telford. Group B: Altrincham, Hull, Nottingham, Sheffield. The top two in each group will make the Cup semi-finals, 1st A v 2nd B etc over two legs.
As in previous seasons, the Laidler playoffs will take the top four from the league and head straight to Finals Weekend over April 1/2.
Details of the respective Finals Weekends will be advised as soon as they are confirmed by the NIHL Events.
The NIHL has also confirmed they will be taking part in the Pride Week in January 2023 alongside other sections in the EIHA, the exact date will be announced in due course.
You can follow the latest from the NIHL online at www.eiha.co.uk/nihl, on Twitter at @NIHLhockey or use the hashtag #oneNIHL.