Sheffield Steelers have thanked local politicians for being one of the major driving forces in getting the 2021 Elite Series off the ground.

The EIHL tournament appeared to be a non-starter a few months ago, but behind-the-scenes lobbying from Richard Caborn and Sheffield MP Clive Betts played a pivotal role in securing government approval for the event.

The five-week four-team tournament – involving Sheffield, Coventry Blaze, Manchester Storm and Nottingham Panthers – is taking place at the National Ice Centre.

Its been organised under the government’s Elite Sport Guidance, with regular testing and a full covid-19 protocol in place.

The short regular season will be completed this weekend with playoffs getting under way next week.

The tournament – supported by Ice Hockey UK – is forming part of Great Britain’s preparations for the upcoming World Championship in Latvia.

Steelers owner, Tony Smith, said: “It’s important that ice hockey fans – and especially those in Sheffield – know that we had people at the top pulling for us.

“Clive Betts certainly pushed all the right buttons on our behalf and I think it is fair to say that without his support and determination, we wouldn’t be watching the Elite Series right now.

“In addition, the GB players wouldn’t be receiving the on-ice game time and training that will prepare them for the World Championship.”

Click here to read more on the Sheffield Steelers website.

All games in the Elite Series are available to watch on a live stream – click here for more details and to purchase the webcasts.

Photo credit: Karl Denham.