London Raiders to line up in larger National League
PUBLISHED: 10:30 08 May 2017
New clubs welcomed into 12-team structure
London Raiders will line up in an enlarged 12-team National League during the 2017-18 season.
Club representatives met at the weekend to discuss a new format, following applications to join from former English Premier League clubs Basingstoke, Bracknell, Peterborough and Swindon.
And after a six-hour meeting, it was revealed that all four had been accepted by existing member clubs, with Division One being split into two conferences next season.
Raiders are grouped with Chelmsford, Invicta and Streatham, as well as Peterborough and Swindon, with all teams playing each other twice home and away.
They will also play teams in the other conference, which includes Basingstoke, Bracknell, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Oxford and Solent, once home and away to make a 32-game schedule.
The National League will also run a cup competition, with Raiders grouped alongside Chelmsford, Invicta and Streatham once again and playing once home and away, as the other group includes the four ex-EPL clubs.
The meeting also saw teams agree to play five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime in the event of a drawn match, with penalty shots if required.
The season will start on the weekend of September 2-3 and end on April 7-8, with further details to be announced regarding the play-offs.
National League South manager Richard Carpenter said: “It was a long day, a difficult meeting, but we’ve reached agreement on the way forward for next season and beyond.
“There are no perfect answers or deals to such a highly complicated situation but we would like to thank all teams involved for reaching a deal to the betterment of British ice hockey.
“There are wider whole-NIHL issues which will be discussed after the North section next week, but we’re pleased to have carried out this task of integrating the former EPIHL clubs into the NIHL structure and agreed a format.”
Division Two will include teams from Basingstoke, Bristol, Bracknell, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Guildford, Haringey, Invicta, Lee Valley, Oxford, Peterborough, Slough and Swindon.