EIHA & Planet Ice New Relationship Announcement

Wednesday 11th November 2020

The English Ice Hockey Association(EIHA) and Planet Ice(PI) are delighted to announce they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) in order to agree on common objectives and establish a pathway going forward which will enable both the EIHA and Planet Ice to collaborate on the development and delivery of ice hockey within Planet Ice rinks.

Planet Ice is the largest brand operating ice rinks in Europe, currently operating 14 ice rinks throughout England and with a fifteenth, Bristol, due to open in early 2021. The EIHA is the national governing body for ice hockey in England and overseeing all of the semi-professional, amateur, and recreational hockey programmes in England.

The MoU covers several significant areas of the sport including endorsing and assisting in the evolution of the Planet Ice Learn to Play programme, Hockey Excellence, allowing PIanet Ice to run development tournaments out of ice hockey season to allow new and developing players to gain playing experience and that PI will make ice time available to assist in the development of officials and to ensure a channel for communication between the EIHA and PI in areas which impact either one or both organisations.

Joy Johnston – Ice Hockey UK Referee Chief and Director Officiating Education Programme, has supported the move and made the following comments.

“I was pleased to understand that Planet Ice have signed an MoU with the EIHA to ensure they can work together on their shared goals of developing our sport and widening its appeal to new participants. As part of that MoU, we understand there to be great development opportunities for new and younger officials. Recruiting new officials is challenging but retaining them and finding the right environment for them to develop as officials is even harder. With new development tournaments being hosted this presents a great opportunity for new officials to develop and gain confidence”.

Both the EIHA and PI are looking forward to the resumption of ice hockey, initially through the Streaming Series being played out of Planet Ice Milton Keynes on November 21st and 28th and then followed by the Planet Ice Cup, an inter-rink junior competition which will take place at Planet Ice once the EIHA move to stage 4 of their Return to Play plan.

Andrew Miller, EIHA Director, added;

“On behalf of the EIHA board, I would like to thank Planet Ice for reaching out to the EIHA with a view to solidifying the relationship between the two organisations. Going forward there is a shared desire to grow the sport of ice hockey, both in terms of players but also in relation to officials and volunteers and it is genuinely exciting to be working together”.

Speaking about the MoU, Heath Rhodes, Planet Ice Chief Operating Officer said;

“We need more operational understanding and input within the NGB’s of Ice Sports in this country. Ice operators are at the coal face of ice sport activity and are best placed to ensure the requirements of our governing bodies are managed correctly and report back their effectiveness, as well as our inclusion in how the business of Ice Sports can evolve for the benefit of all”.

“The Planet Ice Cup tournament will be aimed at those young people who would not normally get the most playing time in league games and is an important factor in growing their confidence and ensuring we are developing a much broader pathway to enjoying the sport both competitively and recreationally”, continued Heath.

Heath finished by saying;

“All in all, we are really pleased with this announcement, and I would like to thank Ken Taggart, Andrew Miller, and the rest of the EIHA board for their support in what can only be a very positive step for the industry as a whole. Given our recent appointment to the IRMA committee as well, we feel very positive that Ice Operations and Management will have much greater consideration and representation into the future.”

Ken Taggart, Chair of the EIHA added;

“We have always enjoyed a strong relationship with Planet Ice and signing the MoU will just give a more robust partnership going forward.”

Both Planet Ice and the EIHA look forward to welcoming hockey players, fans, volunteers, coaches, and officials back to the rinks as soon as it is possible to do so.