Ice Hockey UK has announced that more than 30 teams at senior and under-16 level will compete in the 2019-2020 season in the newly-branded Women’s National Ice Hockey League (WNIHL).
Following section meetings in Derbyshire, the Elite, Premier and Division 1 tiers of the women’s pyramid remain, with the latter split into north and south sections.
The under-16 girls competition also keeps its north and south divisions with seven teams confirmed and expressions of interest from "one or two more", according to Ice Hockey UK.
The WNIHL season is due to begin on the weekend of October 5 and 6 with the final round of league games scheduled for May 9 and 10.
Women’s Trophy Weekend returns to Sheffield on the weekend of May 30 and 31 next year.
Next season’s WNIHL Elite features six teams playing two home and two away games against each other.
Bracknell Queen Bees will defend their eight-year title run against Solihull Vixens, Guildford Lightning, Kingston Diamonds, Streatham Storm and newly-promoted Nottingham Vipers.
WNIHL Premier for 2019-2020 features eight teams playing one home and one away game against each other.
Swindon Topcats join play-off winners Chelmsford Cobras, Milton Keynes Falcons, Kingston Diamonds, Bracknell Fire Bees, Whitley Squaws, Sheffield Shadows and Cardiff Comets.
WNIHL Division 1 North contains six members, with the number of fixtures to be confirmed after discussions with the clubs.
Widnes Wild Women, Telford Wrekin Raiders, Solway Sharks Ladies, Sheffield Shadows, Grimsby Wolves and a new Division 1 side from Nottingham Vipers all feature in the line-up.
WNIHL Division 1 South has nine teams playing one home and one away game.
Slough Sirens will compete alongside Streatham Storm, Solent Amazons, Oxford Midnight Stars, Peterborough Penguins, Invicta Dynamics, Swindon Topcats, Coventry Phoenix and a new Division 1 side from Milton Keynes Falcons.
The under-16 girls league once again has north and south conferences.
In the north, there is Sheffield, Nottingham and Kingston with two other expressions of interest said to be in the pipeline.
The south division has Bracknell, Swindon, Haringey and Milton Keynes.
Clubs raised several rule proposals at the section meetings around younger players playing up to Elite or Premier teams.
The League management are considering the changes, it is claimed, and are set to report back before rules of competition are published.
In August 2018, Ice Hockey UK held its first Women’s Development Camp in Sheffield as part of the national governing body's aim to develop a pathway for young female players.
Coaches from the England national team programme joined Great Britain staff in delivering a two-day camp.