The EIHA board have confirmed that the four official system will be used in the new NIHL National division which got underway in earnest this past weekend.

The new second tier competition will now seek to bridge the gap between the existing NIHL and the Elite League for both players and officials.

In their communication to clubs, the board said: “We have been working hard to come to an agreement that is in the best interests of the league, which supports the best on-ice product for fans and protects players within the new, more competitive NIHL structure. The board have agreed that the four official system is the best way to support these aspirations.”

The IHUK Referee Section chief referee Joy Johnston said: “Using the four official system in the NIHL National division creates a proper pathway for officials up to the Elite League and for the first time in many years there is a real opportunity for officials to work across both leagues and to make the transition up as a referee.

“In addition the four officials on the ice should allow us to provide the teams with a better standard of officiating resulting in higher levels of player safety in the game at this level.

“The officials are all excited for the opportunity to work this league, and we look forward to working with the EIHA and the NIHL clubs to ensure the success of this league.”