Ice age – a timeline of UK’s top hockey teams

Ice hockey is no sporting newcomer to Britain – some of the teams in the top league have been around for a long, long time.

As we discussed in a post a couple of years ago, Britain won Olympic gold in 1936 and the Oxford-Cambridge Varsity match dates back to 1885.

Admittedly, the fragile nature of the sport here has seen leagues and clubs come and go, and the current top-level competition the Elite Ice Hockey League was established as recently as 2003, following the demise of the Superleague, which had only lasted seven seasons.

But there is some real longevity in evidence, as our timeline infographic illustrates.

Fife Flyers may be the most recent additions to the league, but they’ve been on the ice a lot longer than most of their rivals put together.

Nottingham Panthers were part of the post-war boom in the sport, but were actually out of action for a couple of decades before reforming in 1980.

Although many of the other teams are relatively young, some of those cities have hosted ice hockey for much longer.

Martin Harris’s excellent book Homes of British Ice Hockey tells us the sport was played in Glasgow as early as 1896, Dundee Tigers played their first game in 1938, Belfast Eagles in 1946, Edinburgh Royals in 1952, and Shefield Lancers in 1975.

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