Lack of coverage for low-profile sport

The Ssolent Devils warming up at Planet Ice in Gosport.

PLANET Ice in Gosport is a year-round destination for families and ice skating enthusiasts. It is also the smallest and most logistically demanding rink for the Solent Devils.

Most teams would find the facility’s conditions less than adequate, but the team filled with university students and people who have been playing their whole lives look more at the positives.

Due to the closeness of the area and the stands, the players love hearing fans screaming their names when sliding the puck against the ice. It makes the fans feel like they are part of the team, and the club is more than happy to talk to and meet the fans. It’s like a community filled with love for the sport.

The roots of ice hockey in the UK go as far back as the early 1900s, with the UK winning the first European Championship in 1910, the Olympic Championship in 1936, and multiple World Championships.

Unfortunately, a lot has changed over the past 100 years, and ice hockey hasn’t been able to survive the outbreak of sports like football taking over.

All of this then causes growth in grassroots teams, but overall popularity struggles, with only 117,000 participants in the UK in 2020.

The question remains: will the popularity of ice hockey in the UK continue to decline, or is there hope for a resurgence?

Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain: the passion for the sport still burns bright in these players and their supporters.