The member clubs of National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) South have voted unanimously to name their new Division 1 conferences after two stalwarts of the EIHA, Premier League and National League.
In the structure published on Sunday night, the conference containing Basingstoke Bison, Bracknell Bees, Cardiff Fire, MK Thunder, Oxford City Stars and Solent Devils will be named The Wilkinson Conference after Bob Wilkinson who died earlier this year.
The conference which features Chelmsford Chieftains, Invicta Dynamos, London Raiders, Peterborough Phantoms, Streatham IHC and Swindon Wildcats will be named The Britton Conference in memory of the late Bill Britton.
Bob Wilkinson was a hugely respected figure in EIHA and IHUK and his work with juniors and women is particularly remembered. He was also in charge of England and Great Britain representative teams and was an NIHL league manager until 2015.
Bill Britton was secretary of the EIHA, secretary of the then ENL, chairman of the EPL and also Chair of the Women’s Section before his sudden death in 2005. The EIHA women’s playoff championship trophy is already named in his honour.
An NIHL LMC spokesman said: “While both men proudly have their roots in the north of England, they are hugely respected by clubs, players and officials in the south.
“Bill Britton’s dual roles as chairman of the EPL and secretary of the ENL brings those two leagues together in the new structure. The clubs were 100% unanimous in their support of adopting the conference names.
“It’s a fresh start almost for the league, but it is right to have a nod to the past and two great gentlemen who did so much for our clubs, league and sport.”