The playing future of the Hull Pirates has been revealed this evening, following a meeting of the National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) North section.
Following an announcement last month that all clubs in last season’s English Premier Ice Hockey League (EPIHL) were asked to apply to join the NIHL, the applications of the Pirates, Sheffield Steeldogs and Telford were accepted and the three former EPIHL clubs will now join the NIHL North Division One league for the 2017/18 season.
Ten Teams will now compete in Division One playing each other home and away twice for a 36 game season. The Moralee division as NIHL Division 1 is called will be made up of the following sides:
Billingham Stars, Blackburn Hawks, Deeside Dragons, Hull Pirates, Nottingham Lions, Sheffield Steeldogs, Solihull Barons, Solway Sharks, Telford and Whitley Warriors.
The format for the NIHL North 1 Cup competition are still not known and discussions are ongoing regarding it, and they will be announced in due course.
Hull Jets will compete in the tier below the Pirates in NIHL North2 (Laidler) alongside the following sides:
Altrincham Aces, Blackburn 2, Bradford Bulldogs, Coventry Blaze, Deeside 2, Sheffield Senators, Sutton Sting, Telford 2, and Widnes Wild.
The new season is scheduled to begin on the weekend of the 2/3 September 17, and culminate on 7/8 April 18. Any game ending in a draw after regulation time will go to five minutes of 3 on 3 and then penalty shots if required. Only one non EIHA trained player will be allowed to ice during overtime play.
Details of the play off structure for both NIHL North and South conferences were agreed by the clubs and details will be released on Tuesday (16th May).
In a statement on the clubs website the Pirates said ” We as an organisation are hugely excited for the potential the new structure has, we are going to seize the opportunity with both hands and be the organisation others aspire to be”.
On the changes to the league structure the statement went onto say “We must move forward and control the things we can, and that is the continued development of hockey in Hull, with the ultimate goal of competing at the highest level”. “We believe that the 2017/18 season could be something spectacular and we ask you to have faith and jump into this adventure with us”.
A fans forum to take place within the next fortnight was also announced and the club plan to make a player announcement tomorrow (15th May).
We will keep you posted regarding any other announcements in the next chapter of the Hull Pirates story.