Hull Pirates have tonight issued a statement regarding their immediate playing future. Their league appears to be folding after Milton Keynes Lightning and Guildford Flames have applied to join the Elite League so changes are being made to the structure of the leagues below the Elite League. Here is the full statement issued by The Pirates tonight.
Hull Pirates would like to announce that we have made an application to join the National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) Division 1 North.
Hull Pirates owner Shane Smith made the decision to make a formal application to the NIHL after an email from English Ice Hockey Association Chairman Ken Taggart on Sunday evening advising the remaining seven teams to make applications to NIHL North and South respectively. The email was unexpected and a curve ball from the governing body which left us with little choice but to make the application.
Speaking of the decision to make an application Shane Smith said:
“After we received the email from the Mr. Taggart containing his thoughts about the EPIHL, and how he saw the future, we took the difficult decision to make the application. The NIHL meeting will be in late May where the teams of the NIHL will hear our application.
What we can also say is that there is still an alternative scenario, however we won’t know any more about this until the end of April. Again, once this has run its course we can let everyone know what hockey in Hull will look like for the 2017/18 season.
We have always taken great pride in keeping our fans as informed as possible, and this is no exception, unfortunately we don’t know a great deal other than what we have said here so far.”
When asked about the rationale for making an application to the NIHL Shane stated:
“Although this is not the scenario we had in mind for the upcoming season, it has come about quite late in the day and so we have little choice as things stand. But make no mistake, we are building for the future, that’s what we said when we founded the club and that ambition remains the same. We will bring top flight hockey back to Hull within a stable organisation built on financially sound foundations.
This is an opportunity to develop top British talent ready to perform at the highest level domestically and internationally. To underpin this ambition and our long term goals we can also announce that Jason Hewitt will be returning as player-coach. I am convinced that he is exactly the right person to bring success to Hull and his loyalty and positivity has been humbling.
It would have been easy for Jason to have walked away, but he hasn’t, and that speaks volumes about him and his belief in our future. He is working tirelessly to build a team for the season to meet your expectations, we would ask you all to buy into our vision for the future.”
The Hull Pirates are a very stable organisation and strive to compete at the highest level in hockey. This is a vision that we will achieve in the next couple of years with your help, we have always said that you are our lifeblood and this remains the case.
As soon as we have any further details we will announce them, we will be hosting a fans forum in the near future and encourage everyone to attend it.