A few weeks I profiled a team from this league, the Sheffield Steeldogs. Now it’s time to have a look at what the whole league has to offer.
The EPIHL is 10 team professional league situated in England that is second to the EIHL. The league allows it’s teams to dress 4 or 5 imports per game in a 54 game season. Here’s a bit of background on each team:
Formed in 1988, the Basingstoke Bison play in Basingstoke Hampshire and plays out of the Planet Ice Silverdome Arena. They didn’t join the league until 2009. The club has 2 Canadians signed up for this coming season so far as they continue to build their roster. Their logo is very similar to the old Buffalo Sabres logo of years past.
The Bracknell Bees play out of the John Nike Leisuresport Complex (also known as “the Hive”) and wear black and gold. Another long time club that was formed in 1987, they have won numerous championships.
The current EPIHL champions, the Guilford Flames have seen NHL talent amongst it’s roster. Retired goaltender Jamie McLennan and retired forward David Oliver called Guilford home during the 2005 lockout. A few members of Great Britain’s national team also play for the Flames. They play out of the Guilford Spectrum in Guilford, Surrey.
The Manchester Phoenix were originally formed in 2003 as apart of the Elite league (EIHL). They play out of the Altrincham Ice Dome after their original spot of the 17,500 MEN Arena proved to be too much financially. Former Kingston Frontenac and New Jersey Devils draft pick, Brett Clouthier holds the record for most penalty minutes.
Milton Keynes Lightning
Founded in 2002, the Milton Keynes Lightning were originally apart of the EIHL but choose to compete in the EPIHL instead. For the 2013/2014 season, they will be playing out of Coventry. The team has won numerous titles over the years as well.
The Phantoms were formed in 2002 and were the winners of the first Premier cup. Former Florida Panther Chris Allen spent two years with the team. Another fun fact: while with the Kingston Frontenacs, Allen was the first ever to score in the CHL Top Prospects game.
Headmanned by a guy from my hometown, Andrew Payette, I dedicated a whole entire post to the Steeldogs! Go take a look here.
The Jets were the 2012 EPIHL champions and play out of the greatly named Hangar. Gary Stefan (older brother of former Detroit Red Wings netminder Greg Stefan) holds franchise records for most points, goals and assists. A feat that may not be matched.
The Swindon Wildcats play out of the Link Centre and formed in 1986. They hold two regular season titles under their belt. Canadian player Daryl Lipsey, coached and played for the team for 8 seasons. The Wildcats honoured Lipsey with the retirement of his number 14.
The Tigers are one of the newest teams in England having formed in 2001. Although they have struggled, they have knocked off some wins against some of the stronger teams in the league, proving that they can and will be a successful team in the future.