Ice Hockey UK official statement: The sport of ice hockey in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Ice hockey in Scotland and Northern Ireland has been through a turbulent period over the past 24 months with the challenges of the covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing process to re-establish a standalone Scottish Governing Body (SGB) for the sport of ice hockey in Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

The recent announcement that the entire board of SIH (Ice Hockey) Ltd (SIHL) has resigned with immediate effect resulted in the sport and SIHL being left without any governance structures to lead the sport in Scotland and Northern Ireland. This means that there is a pressing need to put in place key mitigations and plans which allow our sport to continue to operate – hopefully without interruption – and ensure that it achieves its full potential.

As it stands, IHUK remains the recognised National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport in Scotland and Northern Ireland, having not been able to conclude the legal, administrative and practical steps required to allow for the transfer of governance to a separate SGB. Therefore, in the interim, IHUK is legally bound to take responsibility for the continuity of the sport.

In order to manage and promote the long-term interests of the sport in Scotland and Northern Ireland, IHUK will now put in place a three-step recovery plan.

Stage 1
In consultation with all relevant stakeholders, IHUK will re-establish a new SIH committee. This group will be tasked with the short-term management of the sport over a period, likely to last approximately eight weeks.

Stage 2
IHUK, working with the SIH committee, will take all appropriate and legally required measures to re-establish a competent board structure at SIHL, whereby an Interim Board of Directors (IBoD) will be elected for a period of 12 months. The IBoD will be tasked with the re-establishment of a fit-for-purpose SGB that meets sport governance best practice – and achieves final sign-off from IHUK for the transfer of governance of the sport in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Importantly, the process and outcome need to be fully compliant for sportscotland and Sport Northern Ireland (Sport NI) to recognise the SGB at some point in the future. IHUK’s agreement to transfer the governance of the sport will be dependent on an agreed plan to adopt and implement an approved long-term strategy for the sport of ice hockey in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Stage 3
Following the signing of the transfer of governance agreement, SIHL will look to be recognised by all parties (including sportscotland and Sport NI) as the self-governing SGB and will be responsible for managing and growing the sport in Scotland and Northern Ireland. SIHL will look to become a member of IHUK,and will then have the same rights and obligations as the English Ice Hockey Association. IHUK will continue to manage the sport’s international relations and will be the sole member representing the United Kingdom (as Great Britain) at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

The future SGB will continue to play a full role in the development of players, coaching and support staff from Scotland and Northern Ireland to support the GB programme and its senior and junior men’s and women’s teams.

All of the stages described above will require full engagement with the entire membership of the sport in Scotland and Northern Ireland and all members of the sport are encouraged to come together in a transparent and collaborative manner. It is critical that the future organisation works for its membership to deliver the highest standards of integrity, transparency and opportunity for Our Sport, Our Members, Our Players and Our People.

During this process, IHUK will support the Scottish and Northern Irish members to continue to play the game we love. Insurance is in place for all member clubs that were affiliated in the pre-pandemic 2019-20 season. The registration system will continue to operate and officials will continue to be provided through the IHUK Referees Section.

Further information regarding the new SIH committee and key responsibilities will be issued within the next few days. In the meantime, IHUK will endeavour to ensure the sport continues to operate as normal.