While London is strongly connected to the world of sport, few people think of ice hockey as one of the major sports to look out for in the city. However, there are plenty of fantastic hockey teams and places you can see them play – here’s our complete guide to ice hockey in London…
London’s Ice Hockey scene
The city is home to four ice hockey clubs, each of which have achieved a ranking in the National Ice Hockey League (NIHL), a governing body in the UK which includes a total of 42 national teams. While in ice hockey’s native Canada, these players would often be regarded as full-time professionals, in the UK they are regarded as amateur players – albeit enthusiastic and talented ones!
These players meet throughout the domestic hockey season for a series of matches, taking place both at home and away. This ensures that whilst there are only a few teams based in London, you can often find a match somewhere in the capital while staying at The Montcalm Hotel.
Who are London’s Ice Hockey Clubs?
Let’s take a quick look at the four hockey clubs in London, helping you get to know them before you search for a match during your stay.
Streatham Ice Hockey Club
This club was formerly home to a team known as the Streatham Redskins, but now call themselves the Redhawks. They’re based at Streatham Ice Hockey Club, which itself is located within the Streatham Leisure Centre and Ice Rink.
The team has a long history, first establishing themselves in 1932. They relocated to their current home in 2014, after it was rebuilt to become a truly world-class ice rink – and the only Olympics-ready ice rink in the city. Following the closure of their ice former base to be rebuilt, there were many doubts that the team would be able to continue, despite its status as one of the most successful ice hockey clubs in the country.
Thankfully, the team has continued to thrive, and this is arguably the most significant of London’s ice hockey clubs for visitors enjoying hotel and spa deals to discover.
Haringey Huskies Ice Hockey Club
Based at Alexandra Palace, the Haringey Huskies Ice Hockey Club was formerly home to the Haringey Racers, who changed their name to the Haringey Huskies only recently.
Alexandra Palace has been a site associated with a number of different ice hockey teams, but at present the Haringey Huskies are the team you need to know about, and have been located here since 2017.
Lee Valley Lions Ice Hockey Club
This hockey club is located at Lee Valley Ice Rink, and the resident team, the Lee Valley Lions, first formed in 1984 before disbanding for a time in 1995. After a ten year hiatus, they reformed in 2005. The team and its club are noted as arguably the most non-controversial of all, as they have never changed their name or moved location throughout their history.
London Raiders Ice Hockey Club
Situated at Romford Ice Rink, the London Raiders once co-habited the Lee Valley Ice Rink, but they are now based in Romford Ice Rink. Having overcome a number of sponsorship issues during 2014, the club has turned things around and retained a place in the league, thanks largely to the support of their enthusiastic fans.
What are the rules of ice hockey?
The rules and regulations of playing ice hockey can be notoriously difficult to master, and it is also a famously difficult sport to follow for the uninitiated! This is due to the speed of the game.
In principal, it is quite similar to football – each team must aim for as many goals as possible, using a rubber puck to score these goals, instead of a football. The puck is another distinguishing part of the game, which is constantly kept at 0 degrees Celsius and can be very painful for anyone who is accidentally hit by it.
Matches are split into 20-minute bursts of activity, sandwiched between 15 minute breaks. Six players from each team take the ice at any given time, and when the whistle blows, the timer is stopped until play resumes.
Goals are calculated as each time the puck crosses into the goal line. Instead of having a confusing offside rule, in ice hockey this simply refers to any time a team member for the opposite team crosses the blue line designated on the rink.
Where can I watch ice hockey in London?
As there are so many different clubs and locations for ice hockey around the city, there are also lots of great places to enjoy a match. Watching a sport you love is a great way to embrace the culture of wellness in London, and a popular pastime in the capital.
All the teams in this blog are part of the NIHL, which oversees and regulates ice hockey in England. The NIHL includes four divisions, with two in the north and two in the south. Unsurprisingly, the four teams in London are all part of the southern divisions, so you can see them play away matches at other locations outside of London, including (perhaps most notably) areas like Basingstoke, Slough and Guildford.
When can I watch a match in London?
The UK’s ice hockey season takes place during the months of September – March every year, and most games are scheduled for the weekend. Saturday and Sunday evenings have proven particularly popular, giving you the chance to really make a night of the event and get into the ice hockey spirit! However, times and dates do differ, so always be sure to check the websites of individual teams and clubs for more details.
How do I buy tickets?
Tickets to matches can be purchased from both the clubs themselves and from reputable third-party sellers. Season tickets are another popular option for true ice hockey enthusiasts who are regular visitors to the city.