A home-based Scottish ice-hockey league is to benefit from two years of sponsorship from SPORTSassist, it has been announced.
Braehead Paisley Pirates, Dundee Texol Stars, Fife Flyers, Solway Sharks and Edinburgh Capitals are due to share the £10,000 award from the initiative which sponsors their newly-formed league.
The sports funding organisation’s cash will allow the country’s top five teams battle for victory in the Scottish Premier Hockey League (SPHL).
Playing each other twice – once at home and once away – the five teams will compete between September and April, vying for the title of league champions.
SPHL’s spokesperson Charlie Ward described the new league as a "tremendous boost" for the sport in Scotland.
"There can’t be many leagues in the sport that can attract such a major sponsor in their first season and this excellent deal will allow us to build for the future," he asserted.
And Stuart Wilson, head coach for the Pirates, told the Paisley Daily Express that the league will encourage high standards for the activity in Scotland.
"What this will mean is that we see the back of crazy scorelines like 18 or 19-0 and the games will be much closer," he remarked.
"That extra competitiveness will help improve the players on every team and improve the quality of Scottish Hockey in general."
He added that the old Scottish National League would continue to operate for second-tier teams and that smaller squads would still engage with the country’s top players in cup competitions, so the unity of the sport was not expected to be compromised.
Charlie Ward concluded by reminding sports clubs that the sponsorship is intended for clubs at all levels to benefit.
"By signing up with SPORTSassist, recreational hockey clubs and junior Hockey clubs have a great opportunity to boost their club funds," he said.
David Borrowman, managing partner at Caesar and Howie and principle partner of SPORTSassist, told the Dundee Evening Telegraph: "As a new sports funding organisation we are committed to the financial welfare and overall development of amateur sports clubs in Scotland."
He contended that such clubs play an instrumental role in Scottish communities and that such funding was hoped to encourage their development.
"The SPORTSassist initiative itself is intended to provide a way for clubs of any size to regain control over their finances and we are looking forward to meeting with Scotland’s recreational clubs to show them how their passion for sport could resolve their funding problems permanently," Mr Borrowman concluded.