The National Ice Hockey League is pleased to unveil the Events Team who will be responsible for the planning and delivery of the five NIHL Finals at the end of the current season.

The team was originally formed just over 18 months ago with a remit to organise and run the finals weekends at the end of the 19/20 season, which as we know never happened.

The role of the Events Team is to make sure that the Finals Weekends run as smoothly as possible, from event planning to delivery and to take some pressure off of Andrew Miller and the NIHL Management Team, allowing them to deal with the day to day running of the section.

Early in the process the team will speak to ice rink management at the selected venues about the needs of running the event safely and efficiently for all involved.  They also liaise with the IHUK Referee Section, to know which on-ice officials are working the weekends.  They even organise things like the 50/50 draw, and on-ice presentations such as Player of the Game and overall championship trophies.

During the pandemic whilst planning for a return to competitive hockey the team also supported the “Return to Play” with the Spring Cups in the NIHL National, and NIHL North and South, working with teams that were involved as well as the referee section, who had a lot of rule changes to deal with, with regards to playing a contact sport.

This culminated in June 2021 with a mini Finals Weekend with teams from NIHL1 North and South.  This was the first fan-attended hockey event in the UK after restrictions were lifted, and was a big test for the newly formed team to run an event in a venue they didn’t know with a large number of volunteers.  The four-team tournament was a huge success thanks to the support of fans, volunteers, clubs and the EIHA Board.

The NIHL Events Team for 21/22 consists of the following members:

Event Managers

Steve Merry
Team Manager for the Bees IHC in the National League.  Sometimes referred to as “Mr Coventry”.  His hockey CV consists of over 30 years of experience as an off-ice official and Team Manager, who has worked at all levels of hockey within the UK setup from IIHF to Juniors.  He inherited Coventry Finals weekend seven years ago and has made the event one of the most looked forward to by fans in the National League. Making it not only about the teams on the ice but the fans who come along to watch.

Danny Perchard
Ex Team Manager of the Bracknell Hornets (NIHL1 South).  For a few years before the rink at Bracknell closed, Danny was instrumental in the organization and running of the NIHL South 1 finals weekend, which was run in Bracknell.  From liaising with the NIHL management team and Ice Rink to help and support teams that were playing at the weekend.

Event Leads

Lucy Spalton
Lucy currently works within the Bees IHC organisation as an off ice official with about five years plus experience at all levels from IIHF to Juniors.  She brings a wealth of knowledge to the team and her input from a team perspective is always welcome.

Michelle Leigh
JMC Member and also helps out within the Manchester Storm from Juniors through to EIHL, she has a wealth of experience in assisting in the running of Conference weekends and organising off ice teams.  Michelle has a wealth of hockey knowledge and a great network of contacts.  Michelle is a great addition to the team and has already fitted in well, with her experience and knowledge.

Starting this season the team will be responsible for the delivery of all five NIHL Finals weekends.  With a consistency to each weekend lifting the blueprint created in the running of Coventry finals weekend and placing this in the finals weekends for the four North and South leagues, on an appropriate scale to each event.

Event Manager, Steve Merry said: “It’s a new exciting challenge that the NIHL Management have given to us.  It’s also an honour to work with some great people within the clubs and across the NIHL.

“The test will be in the final three weeks of April 2022, when all our hard work is put to test.  I for one am looking forward to the Sunday at Coventry when the final game has been signed off.  Then we can all relax for a few weeks before we start again!”

Details of the 2022 NIHL Championship Series – all five Divisional Finals – will be confirmed in the next ten days.

The NIHL Events Team are on social media:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/nihlevents

Twitter – https://twitter.com/NIHLEvents

Website – https://nihlevents.eiha.co.uk/