Leeds Chiefs’ name consigned to history as owner Steve Nell opts for new identity

A DIFFERENT owner and head coach are not the only major changes to come into effect at Leeds Chiefs – the name of the team itself is also set to be replaced.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 8:27 pm
Updated Monday, 26th April 2021, 8:32 pm
END OF AN ERA: Leeds Chiefs celebrate their overtime win against Telford Tigers at Elland Road last February. Picture courtesy of Mark Ferriss

Steve Nell has revealed he is determined to mark a new era for senior ice hockey at Elland Road by moving forward with a different name for the NIHL National team he took over last Friday.

The 54-year-old says he has a couple of options available to replace the Chiefs brand, with a final decision being made in the coming weeks.

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Ice hockey fans will be chanting a new name when the sport returns for the 2021-22 NIHL National season at Elland Road.

Former owners Planet Ice, who own the Elland Road rink, chose the name following an online poll in the summer of 2019 leading up to the team’s inaugural season under player-coach Sam Zajac in the NIHL National league.

Some fans will no doubt be disappointed to see the name disappear after just one season, albeit one that was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, but Nell is keen to embark on a new era for the sport in the city with a new identity.

“We haven’t finalised the new name as of yet, but we are going to change it - we have a couple of options in mind and over the next few weeks we’ll reveal our final decision.

“It’s a new era, with a new ownership and we want to mark that by signalling a new direction with a new team name going forward and it’s best to do that from the very start.

MOVING ON: The Leeds Chiefs name will not be retained by new owner Steve Nell.

“We’ve consulted with some supporters and some key partners and everybody understands and is behind the decision.”

Nell revealed he has already received a number of applications over the weekend to become the new coach of the team, with Zajac unable to commit to the role full-time given his other work commitments back home in his native north east.

“We’ve had several applications come in already, one of them from abroad and I believe it is a position that will attract a lot of interest, given the potential of the sport to grow in the city and the location with its excellent facilities,” added Nell.

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