Flames and MK to join Edinburgh Capitals in Elite League

Guildford Flames take on Sheffield Steeldogs

Guildford Flames take on Sheffield Steeldogs

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Edinburgh Capitals will renew rivalry with Guildford Flames next season after ice hockey’s Elite League rubber-stamped the Surrey outfit’s membership.

Flames, along with fellow débutantes Milton Keynes Lightning, who have both been playing in the English Premier League, will join the Elite League from next season, strengthening the UK wide league to 12 teams.

Edinburgh and Guildford last locked horns when both sides were members of the now defunct British National League between 1998 and 2005, Guildford winning the BNL championship twice during that time.

Currently, the Elite League is split into two conferences, the Gardiner and the Erhardt with teams playing their conference rivals eight times a season, whilst playing teams from the opposite conference four times. It is rumoured the conference system will remain, with Guildford and Milton Keynes joining the Erhardt conference and Belfast Giants favourites to join the Gardiner alongside Edinburgh, Dundee Stars, Fife Flyers, Braehead Clan and Manchester Storm. Although nothing on what structure the league will take next season has been confirmed.

Elite League chairman, Tony Smith, said: “First of all, I’m delighted to welcome Guildford Flames into the Elite League ranks next season and their inclusion gives our league much strength going forward.

“With Milton Keynes Lightning also competing from next season, it’s an exciting time and our growth is a definite positive as we look to the future.

“Guildford are an established force in the English Premier League and they have a history of success at that level, which will stand them in good stead.

“I’m certainly looking forward to seeing them next season and it promises to be a great campaign ahead.”

Smith added: “As things currently stand, we are reviewing what the structure of the league will be and the Conferences so we can’t reveal anything at this time.

“This is something that will be announced at a later date.”