NIHL1 and NIHL2 will take a brand new form for 2013/14 as released yesterday.
Yesterday, teams from the NIHL met for the league AGM with the main outcome possibly being one of the most unexpected. It was confirmed that the NIHL1 and NIHL2 will cease to exist from 2013/14 season as a ‘trial’ which will be reviewed after the season.
The NIHL1 will now be named ‘NIHL Moralee’ with the NIHL2 taking the name ‘NIHL Laidler’. They will essentially be two seperate conferences with no promotion/relegation. This comes as teams are saying they would struggle to remain in business with all the travel costs which would be bigger in what was the NIHL1, as teams are further apart unlike the Laidler Conference which will see Widnes Wild strum up local rivalries with Deeside Dragons and Blackburn Eagles.
As we already know Nottingham Lions had opted against promotion, added to that, Following all the play-off Drama between Deeside Dragons and Coventry Blaze, Coventry have also opted to join the Laidler Conference deeming the play-off weekend and all the efforts from the Deeside staff regarding Blaze icing an illegal player, pointless.
Mixed reactions are flooding Twitter with some teams feeling it is a wise move due to travel, and some teams feeling it devalues the competition and limits the marketing opportunities of being in a higher division.
Teams can apply to switch divisions, and it was also mentioned that Bradford are still able to ice a team in the NIHL Laidler Conference if they can sign a full team.
One section which was left unclear was how the League Cup will be structured.
It was also confirmed that teams can ice 2 import players per game, which will be a rule which will receive a warm welcome from our very own Filip Supa.