The government have announced a £300m Winter Survival Package for sports impacted by the restrictions on spectators across a range of sports.
Ice hockey is pleased to be included in the support announced today with £4m being initially allocated. The full details of the support available will be confirmed after further discussion with DCMS and Sport England. At present, the funding support is aimed at the Elite League to cover losses directly caused by spectators being locked out of venues.
This initial allocation of funding for the EIHL will have a positive impact on the sport and the UK ice hockey will be supporting the voice of the rest of our clubs in discussions that are ongoing with DCMS and Sport England.
The work being done behind the scenes in the EIHL, IHUK, Scottish Ice Hockey and the EIHA shows what can be done by a sport when it is united to work together to push our sport forward at this most difficult of times.
Chairman of the Elite League, Tony Smith, said: “The Elite League is delighted that the government has recognised the importance of ice hockey across the UK and that the EIHL has been included in this unprecedented support package.
“We still need to find out further details from DCMS about how exactly the funding is to be allocated and used before we can make further comment, but would like to recognise the work done behind the scenes by IHUK, the EIHA and within the EIHL to ensure that our sport was not left out. We would also like to thank DCMS for their guidance and support in recent months, which has been invaluable.”
EIHA director, Andrew Miller, said “This is an unprecedented support package for ice hockey and our thanks go to colleagues in DCMS that we have been working with over the past two months in getting us to this point.
“It is an obvious disappointment that the National Ice Hockey League is not yet included in this support, but we should focus on the positive of receiving significant funding and the door still open for us to discuss what other support our sport needs.
“We await both the details of the package on offer presently in addition to the process being administered by Sport England to confirm next steps with our clubs and these discussions will likely need to take place within other home nations due to the devolved nature of sport for both the EIHL and the NIHL.”
The EIHA and IHUK will continue to work with stakeholders in the EIHL and NIHL and we appreciate the support being announced by Nigel Huddleston, the Sports Minister, for supporting our sport at this crucial time.