People will say the British ice hockey league is just a stepping stone for import players to have a good season to obtain a big final pay packet across Europe. The problem that is often brought up across fans is the league hasn’t got a huge sponsor. Who had heard of Pridictor Bet before they signed up as head sponsors of the playoffs? Nobody? The league fails to attract huge sponsors like sky sports, mastercard, Adidas.
We have television coverage allbeit being on second avenue channels like premier sports and free sports. The league had a weekly game on skysports in the early years of the elite league era, it also had a great presenter in David Simms who had great knowledge of the players and teams across the league. The league could generally do with a shake up and return to Sky television or a big name terrestrial TV channel with weekly games and highlights show!
The league has had a high amount of imports in the teams and has just recently announced teams must have 3 british players under the age of 25 to help and develop young British players, but so more could be done. The league could do draft of the young talent pool we have! Giving young players in this country a chance to play in the top flight of British hockey!
Should they wish to develop abroad let them do that but atleast give the stars of tomorrow another avenue to become a professional hockey player. You may want to shoot me down and say there just isn’t 10 young players that are good enough to compete at elite league level, How would you know that unless this method is tried and tested? You may ask how do you pick players to enter the draft? quite simply you have to draft from our British under 17/18 teams.
British Ice Hockey needs some razz mataz
The league also lacks a bit of razz mataz at times, it needs some more characters like ex NHLers like Cam Janssen and Big Brian Mcgrattan who give a policeman’s presence to games and enforce the law on bad and uncalled hits. The league could do so much more to advertise with exciting posters and explosive commercials showing the big hits, fights and exciting goals which could be expensive but give the league added revenue with new fans, sometimes you have to speculate to acumalate.
The league has done a couple of great things like the Magic 5 weekend, this could’ve been a major marquee event showcasing every team in the league. I do hope they commit to rescheduling for the new season if we see a new season..
I have been abroad to watch many games and their local talent is adored, In riga lauris dārziņš is hailed as a god! Our British heroes are hockey players Saturday and Sunday then Monday back on the building site! The wage they get is just a nice little bonus and not a livable wage, top players who play for Team GB do not even get paid for representing our noble Flag! The national team does not even receive lottery funding or government grants to invest in ice hockey in our country.
I have followed Great Britain to three World championships and the support has just got bigger and bigger, however early in the year Nottingham hosted a Olympic qualifying tournament, the rink was half full. The team that dramatically beat respected top fighters France in Slovakia came home to a half empty motorpoint arena, that just shows we as fans need to be held accountable. Country’s like slovakia/Hungary can fill out a arena twice the size of Nottingham with loud noisey passionate fans who act as the 6th man on the ice and take the nation forward.
I do hope reading my Column does entice new fans to go to games and support to the league! If 50 of us at each club enticed 1 of our Freinds to 10 games per season, we would add £9000 worth of income to their local team, which in this financial climate would go a awful long way to financial security for the league’s clubs!