The Nottingham Panthers are a British professional ice hockey club based in Nottingham, England. They are members of the Elite Ice Hockey League, their main team sponsor is the Nottingham Building Society. The Nottingham Panthers have won four league titles, five Championships, six Autumn Cups and eight Challenge Cups during their history. Panthers are the only British team to win European club honours with one Continental Cup, they are the only team to have played in every season where a British league championship has been contested and are the only founding member of the Premier Division in 1983 to have continually participated in the top flight league. The Panthers have 16 members enshrined in the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame and have had 34 players represent Great Britain at the World Championships and in Olympic qualifying; the club was founded in 1946 after earlier attempts to establish a team were postponed due to World War II. During their first eight seasons the Panthers played in the English National League.
They joined the newly formed British National League in 1954, which they competed in until its disbandment in 1960. With no league to play in the club ceased operations. In 1980, players and officials from the Sheffield Lancers relocated to Nottingham and reformed the Panthers. Both the original and modern Nottingham Panthers played their home games at the Ice Stadium until 2000 when the team moved into the National Ice Centre; the Nottingham Panthers have one of the largest fanbases in British ice hockey, averaging over 5,000 spectators per game during the 2014–15 season. Their supporters have shared a number of rivalries with other teams during their history; the Panthers have a fierce rivalry with the Sheffield Steelers. The two sides have played over 200 games, including eleven major finals, since 1992. An initial attempt to bring a professional ice hockey team to Nottingham was made in 1939 following the completion of the Ice Stadium in Nottingham City Centre. A team was assembled and brought to the United Kingdom from Canada to compete in the 1939–40 English National League season but were promptly sent home having not played a single game due to the outbreak of World War II.
Seven years after the war had ended, a second effort to bring ice hockey to the city was begun. With a team of Canadians from Winnipeg, the Nottingham Panthers played their first competitive game on 22 November 1946 with a 3–2 home victory over the Wembley Monarchs; the Panthers struggled during their early years and only once during their first four seasons did they finish in the upper half of the league table. The club's first coach, Alex Archer, left Nottingham after two seasons and was replaced by Archie Stinchcombe who would coach the team until 1955. Despite a lack of success in their formative years the team had a number of players who would become local heroes including forwards Les Strongman and Chick Zamick. Zamick became one of the most prolific scorers in the league and won the Nottingham Sportsman of the Year award on two occasions, defeating sportsmen such as the Notts County and England international footballer Tommy Lawton; the club's first major title came in the 1950–51 season.
After finishing fourth in the Autumn Cup the Panthers won 18 of their 30 league games and clinched the league championship. The team ended the campaign having scored the most goals and conceded the least; the following season Nottingham fell to the bottom of the rankings. Success returned in 1953–54 when, after a last place finish in the Autumn Cup, the Panthers secured their second English League title by one point over Streatham. In the close season of 1954 the English League and the Scottish League were merged to form a British League; the Panthers finished second to the Harringay Racers in the eleven team competition. After one season all the Scottish teams, with the exception of the Paisley Pirates, withdrew from the British League and left it with only five members; the close season of 1955 saw the departure of Stinchcombe, replaced as coach by Zamick. The 1955–56 season proved to be one of the club's most successful. Nottingham won the Autumn Cup at the beginning of the season before clinching their third league title on goal average ahead of the Wembley Lions.
They travelled to Sweden where they won the Ahearne Cup. The 1955–56 title win proved to be the original Panthers' last. Over the next four years Nottingham alternated between bottom and second place in the league standings. After finishing runner-up in 1959–60, the Panthers took part in the first British Championship final in thirty years where they faced the Brighton Tigers. Nottingham were defeated 3–2 in the first leg but won the second in regulation time by the same scoreline forcing overtime; the Tigers clinched 32 seconds of the extra session. During the close season of 1960 the British National League collapsed and the Nottingham Panthers were disbanded. Ice hockey would not return to Nottingham for the next two decades; the Nottingham Panthers were revived thanks to the efforts of Gary Keward. In 1980 the Ice Stadium directors, led by Charles Walker, agreed to a request by Keward to give ice hockey another chance; the Sheffield Lancers, a team Keward helped to run, were relocated to Nottingham taking the name of the team that had occupied the same building 20 years earlier.
On 20 September 1980 the modern Panthers took to the ice for the first time defeating the Solihull Barons 7–4 at the Ice Stadium. During their first three seasons the Panthers played in regional leagues, first in the English League South and in Section B of the British Hockey League. In 1983 the British Hockey League r
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice in a rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent's net to score points. The sport is known to be fast-paced and physical, with teams consisting of six players each: one goaltender, five players who skate up and down the ice trying to take the puck and score a goal against the opposing team. Ice hockey is most popular in Canada and eastern Europe, the Nordic countries and the United States. Ice hockey is the official national winter sport of Canada. In addition, ice hockey is the most popular winter sport in Belarus, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Slovakia and Switzerland. North America's National Hockey League is the highest level for men's ice hockey and the strongest professional ice hockey league in the world; the Kontinental Hockey League is much of Eastern Europe. The International Ice Hockey Federation is the formal governing body for international ice hockey, with the IIHF managing international tournaments and maintaining the IIHF World Ranking.
Worldwide, there are ice hockey federations in 76 countries. In Canada, the United States, Nordic countries, some other European countries the sport is known as hockey. Ice hockey is believed to have evolved from simple stick and ball games played in the 18th and 19th century United Kingdom and elsewhere; these games were brought to North America and several similar winter games using informal rules as they were developed, such as "shinny" and "ice polo". The contemporary sport of ice hockey was developed in Canada, most notably in Montreal, where the first indoor hockey game was played on March 3, 1875; some characteristics of that game, such as the length of the ice rink and the use of a puck, have been retained to this day. Amateur ice hockey leagues began in the 1880s, professional ice hockey originated around 1900; the Stanley Cup, emblematic of ice hockey club supremacy, was first awarded in 1893 to recognize the Canadian amateur champion and became the championship trophy of the NHL. In the early 1900s, the Canadian rules were adopted by the Ligue Internationale de Hockey sur Glace, the precursor of the IIHF and the sport was played for the first time at the Olympics during the 1920 Summer Olympics.
In international competitions, the national teams of six countries predominate: Canada, Czech Republic, Russia and the United States. Of the 69 medals awarded all-time in men's competition at the Olympics, only seven medals were not awarded to one of those countries. In the annual Ice Hockey World Championships, 177 of 201 medals have been awarded to the six nations. Teams outside the "Big Six" have won only five medals in either competition since 1953; the World Cup of Hockey is organized by the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association, unlike the annual World Championships and quadrennial Olympic tournament, both run by the International Ice Hockey Federation. World Cup games are played under NHL rules and not those of the IIHF, the tournament occurs prior to the NHL pre-season, allowing for all NHL players to be available, unlike the World Championships, which overlaps with the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs. Furthermore, all 12 Women's Olympic and 36 IIHF World Women's Championships medals were awarded to one of these six countries.
The Canadian national team or the United States national team have between them won every gold medal of either series. In England, field hockey has been called "hockey" and what was referenced by first appearances in print; the first known mention spelled as "hockey" occurred in the 1773 book Juvenile Sports and Pastimes, to Which Are Prefixed, Memoirs of the Author: Including a New Mode of Infant Education, by Richard Johnson, whose chapter XI was titled "New Improvements on the Game of Hockey". The 1573 Statute of Galway banned a sport called "'hokie'—the hurling of a little ball with sticks or staves". A form of this word was thus being used in the 16th century, though much removed from its current usage; the belief that hockey was mentioned in a 1363 proclamation by King Edward III of England is based on modern translations of the proclamation, in Latin and explicitly forbade the games "Pilam Manualem, Pedivam, & Bacularem: & ad Canibucam & Gallorum Pugnam". The English historian and biographer John Strype did not use the word "hockey" when he translated the proclamation in 1720, instead translating "Canibucam" as "Cambuck".
According to the Austin Hockey Association, the word "puck" derives from the Scottish Gaelic puc or the Irish poc. "... The blow given by a hurler to the ball with his camán or hurley is always called a puck." Stick-and-ball games date back to pre-Christian times. In Europe, these games included the Irish game of hurling, the related Scottish game of shinty and versions of field hockey. IJscolf, a game resembling colf on an ice-covered surface, was popular in the Low Countries between the Middle Ages and the Dutch Golden Age, it was played with a wooden curved bat, a wooden or leather ball and two poles, with t
Sweden the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre; the highest concentration is in the southern half of the country. Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats and Swedes and constituting the sea peoples known as the Norsemen. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is forested. Sweden is part of the geographical area of Fennoscandia; the climate is in general mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence, that in spite of this still retains warm continental summers.
Today, the sovereign state of Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state, like its neighbour Norway. The capital city is Stockholm, the most populous city in the country. Legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister. Sweden is a unitary state divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities. An independent Swedish state emerged during the early 12th century. After the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century killed about a third of the Scandinavian population, the Hanseatic League threatened Scandinavia's culture and languages; this led to the forming of the Scandinavian Kalmar Union in 1397, which Sweden left in 1523. When Sweden became involved in the Thirty Years War on the Reformist side, an expansion of its territories began and the Swedish Empire was formed; this became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, ending with the annexation of present-day Finland by Russia in 1809.
The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since Sweden has been at peace, maintaining an official policy of neutrality in foreign affairs; the union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905. Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars and the Cold War, albeit Sweden has since 2009 moved towards cooperation with NATO. After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995, but declined NATO membership, as well as Eurozone membership following a referendum, it is a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens, it has the world's eleventh-highest per capita income and ranks in numerous metrics of national performance, including quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, economic competitiveness, equality and human development.
The name Sweden was loaned from Dutch in the 17th century to refer to Sweden as an emerging great power. Before Sweden's imperial expansion, Early Modern English used Swedeland. Sweden is derived through back-formation from Old English Swēoþēod, which meant "people of the Swedes"; this word is derived from Sweon/Sweonas. The Swedish name Sverige means "realm of the Swedes", excluding the Geats in Götaland. Variations of the name Sweden are used in most languages, with the exception of Danish and Norwegian using Sverige, Faroese Svøríki, Icelandic Svíþjóð, the more notable exception of some Finnic languages where Ruotsi and Rootsi are used, names considered as referring to the people from the coastal areas of Roslagen, who were known as the Rus', through them etymologically related to the English name for Russia; the etymology of Swedes, thus Sweden, is not agreed upon but may derive from Proto-Germanic Swihoniz meaning "one's own", referring to one's own Germanic tribe. Sweden's prehistory begins in the Allerød oscillation, a warm period around 12,000 BC, with Late Palaeolithic reindeer-hunting camps of the Bromme culture at the edge of the ice in what is now the country's southernmost province, Scania.
This period was characterised by small bands of hunter-gatherer-fishers using flint technology. Sweden is first described in a written source in Germania by Tacitus in 98 AD. In Germania 44 and 45 he mentions the Swedes as a powerful tribe with ships that had a prow at each end. Which kings ruled these Suiones is unknown, but Norse mythology presents a long line of legendary and semi-legendary kings going back to the last centuries BC; as for literacy in Sweden itself, the runic script was in use among the south Scandinavian elite by at least the 2nd century AD, but all that has come down to the present from the Roman Period is curt inscriptions on artefacts of male names, demonstrating th
Scotland is a country, part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides; the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain; the union created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland enacted a political union to create a United Kingdom.
The majority of Ireland subsequently seceded from the UK in 1922. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland; the legal system within Scotland has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The continued existence of legal, educational and other institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union with England; the Scottish Parliament, a unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, was established in 1999 and has authority over those areas of domestic policy which have been devolved by the United Kingdom Parliament. The head of the Scottish Government, the executive of the devolved legislature, is the First Minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the UK House of Commons by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs.
Scotland is a member of the British–Irish Council, sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. "Scotland" comes from the Latin name for the Gaels. From the ninth century, the meaning of Scotia shifted to designate Gaelic Scotland and by the eleventh century the name was being used to refer to the core territory of the Kingdom of Alba in what is now east-central Scotland; the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass most of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages, as the Kingdom of Alba expanded and came to encompass various peoples of diverse origins. Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period, it is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation.
At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, the main form of transport was by water. These settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, the first villages around 6,000 years ago; the well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation and ritual sites are common and well preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone. Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BCE; the first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands. During the first millennium BCE, the society changed to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.
The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD. After the Roman victory, Roman forts were set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands; the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, they introduced Christianity to Scotland. Beginning in the sixth century, the area, now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland; these societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves through the ninth century. Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries. Operating in the sixth ce
Coventry Blaze are an ice hockey team based in Coventry, England. They compete in the British Elite Ice Hockey League and play their home games at the SkyDome Arena; the club was founded in 1965 as the Solihull Barons and renamed to Solihull Blaze in 1996. At the turn of the millennium the club relocated to the SkyDome Arena and became Coventry Blaze. Blaze have won four Elite Ice Hockey League Championships since the formation of the league in 2003; the Solihull Barons evolved into Solihull Blaze before the start of the 1996–97 season, finishing second in the southern division of the British National League during the league's inaugural season. For the following season the team joined the newly formed "national division" of the English National Ice Hockey League for its inaugural season; this season was one of the most successful on record as Blaze were victorious in both competitions and their respective play-offs. Nine goals in each leg of the play off final against Chelmsford Chieftains gave Blaze their third trophy of the season.
The Blaze left the ENIHL along with the rest of the national division during the course of the 1998-99 season, with the division becoming the English Premier League. In November 1998, they were losing finalists in the English Cup, but the side were once again crowned league champions in March with a victory in Chelmsford on 20 March. Play-off success followed in April with a 5–3 two-legged victory over season-long rivals, Milton Keynes Kings. For the following season Blaze returned to the BNL. In May 2000, the club announced that they would be heading to new a new 3,600-seater stadium, the Coventry SkyDome Arena, for the 2000–01 BNL campaign; this was done for the purpose of attracting a larger fan base to the team. With eight new players on board the Blaze started their inaugural season at the Skydome with a decent run in the Benson & Hedges Cup and, after losing in their opening BNL game, proceeded to set an impressive pace in the league competition throughout October and November; the loss of key players, Craig Chapman and Steve Chartrand at the turn of the year were possible contributions to a dip in form which resulted in an eventual fourth-place finish.
In the playoffs Blaze were unable to repeat the previous years semi-final appearance. However, the most important factor of the year was the growth in fan base from a few hundred at the start of the year to over 2000 by the end of the play-offs. Season 2001–02 saw few changes in the line up The Season started with a run of good results in the Findus Challenge Cup which saw Blaze qualify for the Semi-Finals; this run included the first return visit to Hobs Moat Road in Solihull to take on the reformed Barons. An injury to Andrew McNiven saw ex-Steeler/Panther/Giant Steve Roberts join up with the Blaze. An impressive October/November saw; the Finals weekend of the Challenge Cup saw Blaze comeback from 3–0 down in the semi-final to beat Basingstoke Bison and go on to meet Fife in the final, which the Flyers went on to win. Returning to the league, the Blaze continued in fine form throughout splitting results with the Stars. Stars greater consistency, their ability not to drop points against mid-table teams left them top of the league with the Blaze runners-up again.
The Play-Offs saw the Blaze top their qualification group and beat Guildford Flames over the two legged semi-final. The Final saw them take on the Stars and lose out by the narrowest of margins, 8–7, over the two legs, for the third time in the season Blaze were runners-up. Season 2002–03 saw another evolution not revolution in the playing staff with Jody Lehman replacing Burt in goal, Joel Poirier replacing the departed Roberts, GB forward Ashley Tait joining the team. Blaze entered the Ice Hockey Superleague Challenge Cup at the start of the season, ran a couple of ISL teams close; the Findus Challenge Cup saw Blaze into the Finals where they met the Newcastle Vipers, but the result was a 0–3 loss. A run of form following the defeat saw the Blaze wrap up the league title with a victory in Dundee; this was followed up with an unbeaten play-offs run, the Final being contested against Cardiff Devils, a narrow victory in Cardiff was followed by a first capacity crowd at the Skydome for a triumphant night that saw Blaze lift their second trophy of the year.
Shortly after the final, Blaze announced their move into the newly formed Elite Ice Hockey League, commenced preparations for their first season in the top flight of British ice hockey. Season 2003–04 saw another major change in the club's progress as they took part in their first season as a top-flight club in the newly formed Elite League. Coach Paul Thompson stayed true to the team which had won the double in the BNL the year before, replacing only three players; the first game of the league saw another first for the club as they flew to their game in Belfast and beat the previous year's Superleague playoff champions. A 6–1 win over Sheffield in October and
English Ice Hockey Association
The English Ice Hockey Association is the governing body responsible for the administration of all ice hockey in England and Wales and was formed in 1982. It is technically subordinate to Ice Hockey UK, which represents England at the IIHF; the leagues and areas for which the EIHA are responsible for are: English Premier Ice Hockey League English National Ice Hockey League British Universities Ice Hockey Association Women's ice hockey Recreational ice hockey Junior ice hockeyThey are responsible for running coaching courses and the training and registration of on and off-ice officials. English Ice Hockey Association official website