Governing bodies for ice hockey in the UK have a chequered history, as the game has gone in and out of popularity, with crowds rising and falling and available money growing and shrinking. Ice Hockey UK is now the national governing body (it took over from the British Ice Hockey Association) and is affiliated to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).
Ice Hockey UK does not directly manage the various British ice hockey leagues; the only teams it is responsible for are the national teams, which comprise:
- the GB men’s team
- the GB women’s team
- the GB under 20s men’s team
- the GB under 20s women’s team
- the GB under 18’s men’s team
- the GB under 18’s women’s team
Beyond that, Ice Hockey UK:
- acts as consultant to grant Work Permits in the UK and is consulted particularly on the criteria that players coming from non-EU countries must meet
- has responsibility for making sure that all overseas players are properly cleared to play and that the rules and bylaws of the IIHF are upheld
Ice Hockey UK receives no funding from the government. It controls live streaming of television coverage of matches through Ice Hockey UK Media, which is sponsored by McDonald’s. Featured games are shown on a pay-per-view basis, with the charge per match generally being £6. This is subject to change for special games; for example, matches played in the Women’s World Cup championship (Division 2A) at Dumfries in 2015 were screened for £7.50 for the entire tournament – a remarkable bargain.
Ice Hockey UK is also responsible for managing the anti-doping programme, which is carried out in conjunction with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD). Competitors who refuse or evade testing, or who on testing are found to have used doping substances or methods, face a four-year ban for a first offence, while inadvertent doping is likely to attract a two-year ban. Lifetime bans can be applied and may be used even for a first offence, if that offence is sufficiently serious.