THE Basingstoke Bison fans can live in hope that their team will be back in action in April.

This is if Phase One of the Return to Play process for the sport proves to be a success over the next couple of months.

The National Ice Hockey League National owners have worked hard with the English Ice Hockey Association and rink operators to put together the National League Spring Cup, starting later this month.

The Herd will not be involved in this, but five of their National League rivals the Swindon Wildcats, Sheffield Steeldogs, Telford Tigers, the Bees who play out of Slough and the Raiders of Romford will be competing.

The five teams will play each other home and away over seven weekends, with each team playing three times to make a total of 12 games.

All the games as in the previous series before Christmas, will be streamed live and played behind closed doors. If this proves to be a success, then Phase Two of the Return to Play process will see all 10 teams from last season’s National League in action which includes the Bison in a league competition during April and May.

The Herd management will continue to monitor the situation and will make a further review prior to the April and May competition announcement.

Basingstoke Bison’s John Neville said: “With the pandemic being at a crucial stage we as a club have decided that it was sensible for now not to commence operations.

“We understand the disappointment, but rest assured we are monitoring the situation weekly.”