Chieftains to be put on ice?

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Awaiting Chelmsford Chieftains logoIn an official statement on their website, the Chelmsford Chieftains, who finished 9th in the EPL last season, have announced that due mainly to financial issues that they don't expect to be competing in the EPL for the 2008/09 season.  

It was less than two weeks ago that the Chieftains announced that they needed a major sponsor in order to continue to compete at EPL level. Given that by now the team would need to have been at the very least considering terms for players for the next season they clearly had to make a decision before it was too late.  

The statement on the Chieftains web site cites a number of reasons for their decision. As well as the cost of player salaries at EPL level it was also stated that a potential issue was foreseen with the allocation of ice time given that local the ENL Warriors team may need more ice time as the English National League continues to expand. In light of all of the factors club officials are in discussion with the EIHA and the Chelmsford Warriors with the intention of merging with that team while at the same time setting up a fighting fund in order to allow the Chieftains to make a return to the EPL in the future perhaps at a new rink that would be built in Chelmsford in the future.

While fans across the EPL will clearly be disappointed at the loss of the this team, many will also surely be worried about the fact that the Chieftains statement also indicated that other EPL teams may be in a similar position. The league which already shrunk from 12 to 11 teams last season due to the withdrawal of the Solihull Barrons might not look much different to fans with only 10 teams competing but even the more successful teams in the league may have to consider their position if too many more teams are forced to drop down to ENL level.

See the Chelmsford Chieftains official website for the full statement.

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