The Rise of British Ice Hockey

England has had some very talented hockey players over the years such as

British hockey is growing in popularity.

goalies, centers, wings, and defensive players. These are some of the top British hockey players to ever live. So, if you’re a native of England and want to play hockey professionally then you are good to go.

The Sheffield Steelers is one of the most successful teams in Britain’s Elite Ice Hockey League. They play their matches at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield and are popular for their pregame dramatics as for their form on the ice, though both are entertaining.

Ice hockey in the UK is having a particular moment of popularity. As far as live attendances, it has become the most-watched indoor sport in Britain, according to the EIHL, and the 3rd most popular winter sport, after football and rugby, games that are played at schools all over the country. (Ice hockey is not, yet.) This wave of interest is a good thing, though you have to wonder: why didn’t it become popular way sooner?

The Steelers are owned by Tony Smith, a Sheffield-born businessman who more than a few individuals consider being the savior of championship ice hockey in the UK. Also, he is the EIHL chairman. In 2011, when he bought the Steelers, support was low and the club was in receivership. Beyond a community of die-hard fans, few folks considered the British game a worthwhile spectacle. Brits tend to think of ice hockey as inaccessible and enigmatic, hard to play and hard to understand.

The Videotron is emblematic of Smith’s vision for ice hockey in the UK: a live-action entertainment extravaganza for the social media people. It screens during games, engaging the crowd, sometimes zooming in on the unlucky fan who are sleeping.

Smith likes to describe a hockey experience as a kind of sporting gateway drug: Just get them in for that first game and they’ll come back.