The 2021/22 Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) season will begin on the weekend of 25-26 September, organisers have confirmed.
The announcement of key dates for the new season follows the conclusion of the Elite Series, a five-week event held in place of the cancelled 2020/21 campaign.
“The Elite Ice Hockey League is pleased to announce key dates for the 2021/22 season and the return of a full, top-flight ice hockey season in the UK,” a league statement read.
“League games are scheduled to start on the weekend of 25-26 September and run all the way through to the Playoff Finals Weekend on 23-24 April 2022.
“The Elite League will hold the annual fixtures meeting as usual at the end of June with the full schedule coming out in July. More information including League, Playoffs and Challenge Cup format are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.”
Well, a lot has happened since the 2020/21 season was officially cancelled at the start of February.
After that, provided coronavirus levels remain suppressed across the United Kingdom, a new season will arrive in September.
Simply, it is fantastic news.
However, in terms of the EIHL’s normal timeline, the 2020/21 campaign will start a little later than usual. Typically, new Elite League seasons begin on the first weekend of September – it’ll be different this year, and rightly so.
Pushing the new season back by a fortnight gives front offices more time to prepare – and creates some wriggle room for the league if the government has to introduce new Covid-19 legislation.
Being a touch cautious – in this climate, is good governance.
Finally, a point on the EIHL announcing its new season so far in advance: I’m impressed. Getting a ‘key date’ declaration in early gives the league exposure – and adds weight to teams’ recruitment drives. It also signifies that the EIHL is very confident that there will be a 2021/22 season to watch.
Bring. It. On.