Elite League restructured to 11 teams as door closes on Capital ice hockey

Edinburgh Capitals will not be playing in the Elite League next season. Pic: SNS
Edinburgh Capitals will not be playing in the Elite League next season. Pic: SNS
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Edinburgh will definitely no longer play host to top-flight ice hockey after Elite League bosses announced the competition will drop down to 11-teams.

Elite League chairman Tony Smith paid tribute to former members Edinburgh Capitals, who were forced to quit the league last month after losing their ice time contract at Murrayfield Ice Rink to rival group Racers Leisure Limited, which is led by Scottish Ice Hockey Association chairman David Hand.

Rink directors made the decision to evict the Caps after a 20-year tenancy following a number of extremely poor seasons and long-time owner Scott Neil’s company Capitals Hockey Limited going into liquidation last November.

Racers Leisure were quick to apply to the league as Capitals’ replacement, but their bid was rejected by EIHL team owners last month without a formal meeting between the two parties even taking place.

Racers Leisure’s plan was to re-launch Murrayfield Racers, a name steeped in British ice hockey history and winning the league title on six occasions, before going bust following the 1994-95 season.

It is unclear what the future holds for the sport in the city, with a last-minute bid to join the ranks of the semi-professional National Ice Hockey League the most likely option.

Smith said: “Having to meet to decide the way forward was not one we particularly relished after the circumstances involving Edinburgh.

“While we are sad to see lose them, it means we have to move on and it’s by no means been an easy day for us in plotting the next step.

“On behalf of the Elite League, I want to take this opportunity to thank Edinburgh Capitals for their contribution during their 13 years competing in this league and wish Scott Neil and everyone connected all the best for the future.”