Ice Hockey UK will receive £900,000 of funding as part of UK Sport’s £24.2million investment being spread across eight Winter Olympic and Paralympic sports for the Milan-Cortina cycle ahead of the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.
It’s the biggest-ever investment in ice hockey in the UK and will enable funding to be directed to several new initiatives, as well bringing in one or two key personnel to help IHUK deliver the GB Programme.
Funding will be specifically allocated to create a GB High Performance Academy and Elite Coaching Development.
Money will be allocated to the women’s game to build on the recent successes, including promotion to Division 1 of the Women’s World Championship and the huge interest in last October’s Olympic Qualifiers in Nottingham which saw the attendance record smashed three times for a women’s game in the UK, culminating in over 2,000 people for the final-day match against Korea.
Funding will also go towards creating a junior three-on-three programme in line with the new format at the Youth Olympic Games, with the next edition taking place in Korea in 2024.
Ice Hockey UK Chair, Clifton Wrottesley, said: “To have UK Sport partner with Ice Hockey UK and for UK Sport to have the confidence to invest into ice hockey’s performance programmes in the UK, speaks volumes for the potential of our sport in this country. We have flown below the radar for far too long.
“Although we have much of the necessary infrastructure and facilities in place already in the UK, we hope to build on our relationships with all of our partners in ice hockey so that we can direct this investment into the areas we have identified with UK Sport as having the best potential over the Milan-Cortina Olympic cycle, then to 2030 and beyond.
“I would like to formally thank the UK Government and The National Lottery for their long term and unwavering support of sport in the UK. Without their investment into sport in this country, we would not see the sustained success that we’ve all witnessed over the past couple of decades.
“Our elite athletes inspire us all to engage in sport, either supporting our national teams, or to actually take up and participate in sport, both of which are fundamental to our national identity and so beneficial to our personal wellbeing.
“Thanks again to everyone involved in this process, not least everyone who volunteers their time to make the Great Britain Performance Programme what it is; to my fellow Ice Hockey UK board members who have committed fully to this process over the past 18 months or so and, of course, to the team at UK Sport that have been so instrumental in helping us through to this result.”
Funding on this UK Sport cycle is for eight sports instead of six and will be split across three areas; World Class Programme (WCP), Sport Progression and National Squads.
Sally Munday, CEO of UK Sport, said: “Our investment for the Milan-Cortina cycle aims to harness a broad talent pool which reflects the diversity of British society.
“I believe there is a sport for everyone and one strength of our Winter Olympic and Paralympic sports is that they can engage a broad fan and participation base.
“This investment would not be possible without the ongoing funding from the government and The National Lottery, enabling British athletes access the world-class training and support they need to succeed on the world stage.
“The eight funded sports are set to reap the benefits of this vital investment at Olympic and Paralympic level, whilst also providing the athletes with the platform to inspire future generations.”
Dr Kate Baker, Director of Performance at UK Sport, said: “These investments illustrate UK Sport’s strategic ambition to win and win well in Milan-Cortina, while also helping sports to develop the capacity to deliver success in the long term.
“We believe this is imperative to the continued growth and progression of these sports and our aim to become an ever greater force in winter sport.”
Nigel Huddleston, Sports Minister, said: “Together with our National Lottery partners, we are increasing investment in our winter Olympians and Paralympians and there is now almost £30 million available to give them every chance of medal success in 2026.
“I’m pleased to see UK Sport will use the extra funding to broaden the range of sports it supports and give more athletes the support they need to succeed on the biggest global stage.”