The EIHA board and JLMC are pleased to announce that the organisation and administration of the under-20 league will move under the remit of the Junior Leagues Management Committee (JLMC) from this coming season (2018-19).

The EIHA U20 league was established in 2015 and completed its third season in April this year. Sheffield Scimitars and Coventry Blaze (twice) have been the U20 champions in the three years of the competition so far.

JLMC chair Jacqueline Pye attended the EIHA board meeting at the beginning of June to discuss the future of the U20 league and the plan to bring it into the JLMC fold.

She Pye said: “The U20 league is a massive part of the player pathway and the development of Stage 3 players.

“By bringing the U20 under the JLMC, we can put it at the top of our development pyramid and give the players the final link in the pathway to senior hockey.

“It’s the aim of the JLMC that every club should want to have an U20 team and we will be discussing that with clubs later this month.”

Great Britain’s development head coach Tony Hand is also supportive of the move.

“U20 hockey is an important part of a player’s individual development and is key to our role in developing national team players at U18, U20 and senior level,” he said.

The U20 league managers are Dave Hayward and Carol-Ann Watt. Clubs will be contacted by league managers to discuss entering teams into the league for the 2018-19 season.

The JLMC will give as much support as possible to clubs who want to enter the competition and help grow the top end of the junior structure in the EIHA.

In the future, the JLMC would envisage the junior age groups as U9, U11, U13, U15, U17 and U20, but it is key that the U20 leagues are viable before moving the age from U18 to U17.