Elite League Info
The Elite Ice Hockey League is a professional league in the United Kingdom. Formed in 2003, it is the highest level of ice hockey competition in the UK.
Twelve teams from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland currently compete in the Elite League, which is split into three Conferences.
Professional ice hockey has been played in the UK since the 1930s and the Great Britain team won the Olympic gold medal in 1936.
Ice hockey is now the number-one attended indoor professional sport in the UK and overall it is the third largest winter spectator sport in the UK after football and rugby union.
Elite League and Conference Setup
Belfast Giants, Cardiff Devils, Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers compete in the Erhardt Conference. This is named after Carl Erhardt who captained Great Britain to their Olympic gold in 1936. The winners are awarded the Erhardt Trophy.
Braehead Clan, Dundee Stars and Fife Flyers make up the Gardiner Conference. This is named after Charlie Gardiner – the Edinburgh-born netminder who captained Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup in 1934. The winners are awarded the Gardiner Trophy.
Coventry Blaze, Guildford Flames, Manchester Storm and Milton Keynes Lightning compete in the Patton Conference. This is named after IIHF and British Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Major Bethune Minet “Peter” Patton, who is credited with bringing ice hockey to the United Kingdom and helping it spread across Europe. The winners are awarded the Patton Trophy.
Each team will play teams six times over the season, three home and three away.
The conference titles are still up for grabs but will have no impact on deciding the Elite League title winner.
The winner of the Elite League title is the side with the most points from their full 60-game season.
Elite League teams also compete for the Challenge Cup.
With the change to an 11 team league, the Challenge Cup format is yet to be announced.
Elite League Playoffs
The season ends with the playoffs. The top eight seeds progress to the two-legged quarter-finals (home and away).
The Elite League champions will be seeded number one for the playoffs.
With the change to an 11 team league, the rest of Playoff seedings yet to be announced.
Seeds five to eight will then be determined by the Elite League table.
Quarter-finals will follow the usual match-ups over two legs with seed one facing eight, two against seven, three versus six and four playing five.
Overtime and penalties will be used after the second leg if needed.
Playoff finals weekend takes place at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena, usually in the first weekend of April (dates will be confirmed by the league each season), with the semi-finals taking place on the Saturday and the third v fourth-placed match and Grand Final on the Sunday.
Seedings for the semi-final and final will be determined by the original quarter-final ranking, so the highest-placed team left in the playoffs will be ranked as the highest seed.
The highest seed will play the lowest seed in the first semi-final, with the remaining seeds playing in the second semi-final.
The two losing semi-finalists will meet in the third v fourth-placed match, while the winners will go head to head in the Elite League playoff final.