A Change for all Seasons?

Manchester Phoenix was dealt a blow yesterday with Defenceman Grant Jacobsen leaving the club to return to the CHL. It has been suggested by some that Jacobsen used the EIHL as a pre-season fitness camp before returning to North America. Jacobsen isn’t the first and probably won’t be the last import to do this, but the question is how could it be reduced, or even stopped?

Personally, I would bring the UK league season more in line with those of North America, starting in October and ending with the play-off finals on May Day Bank Holiday weekend, which would prevent this from happening again.

As well as stopping imports using the start of the season as a fitness and training camp, I also see other benefits to this, the main one being that the play-off finals will be on a Bank Holiday weekend every year giving an opportunity for the event to be extended to three days and also incorporate the EPL finals. The format could be an EIHL & EPL semi-final on both the Saturday and Sunday with both finals on the Bank Holiday Monday. Obviously this would require discussion, leadership and organisation, qualities that are sadly lacking on the British Hockey scene, but it wouldn’t be impossible would it?

Obviously there would be downsides to this plan, such as fitting in GB’s trip to the world championships (however, moving to one play-off weekend would give Paul Thompson the opportunity of picking from EPL as well as EIHL rosters), but again that is something that could be worked around and I think the change would benefit the UK game as a whole.

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