The 1997–98 Ice Hockey Superleague season was the second season of the Ice Hockey Superleague (ISL).
There were no changes in the teams taking part during the season – Ayr Scottish Eagles, Basingstoke Bison, Bracknell Bees, Cardiff Devils, Manchester Storm, Newcastle Cobras, Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers.
The league season was reduced to twenty-eight rounds in the hope of organising a European tournament. However, this failed to materialise so the league arranged a new cup competition to meet the shortfall in fixtures. With the sponsorship of the Daily Express newspaper the Express Cup was launched.
Ayr Scottish Eagles won a Grand Slam of all available trophies.
Benson & Hedges Cup
The Benson & Hedges Cup consisted of the teams from the ISL and the top teams from the British National League. In the 1997–98 season, twelve teams in total were split into two regional groups playing each team in their group once at home and once away. The top four teams of each group then progressed to the quarter finals where the teams were paired off and the winning team on aggregate (after playing home and away) progressed to the semi finals. Again the winning team on aggregate progressed to the one-off final game held at Sheffield Arena.
|Ayr Scottish Eagles||10||6||2||2||56||26||14|
Quarter final A: Winner A (Manchester) vs 4th place B (Bracknell)
- Bracknell Bees 2–2 Manchester Storm
- Manchester Storm 5–4 Bracknell Bees (Manchester win 7–6 on aggregate)
Quarter final B: 3rd place A (Ayr) vs 2nd place B (Nottingham)
- Ayr Scottish Eagles 4–2 Nottingham Panthers
- Nottingham Panthers 3–4 Ayr Scottish Eagles (Ayr win 8–6 on aggregate)
Quarter final C: 2nd place A (Newcastle) vs 3rd place B (Basingstoke)
- Newcastle Cobras 1–1 Basingstoke Bison
- Basingstoke Bison 1–5 Newcastle Cobras (Newcastle win 6–2 on aggregate)
Quarter final D: 4th place A (Sheffield) vs Winner B (Cardiff)
- Sheffield Steelers 2–3 Cardiff Devils
- Cardiff Devils 5–2 Sheffield Steelers (Cardiff win 8–4 on aggregate)
Winner QF A (Manchester) vs Winner QF B (Ayr)
- Manchester Storm 4–4 Ayr Scottish Eagles
- Ayr Scottish Eagles 4–2 Manchester Storm (Ayr win 8–6 on aggregate)
Winner QF C (Newcastle) vs Winner QF D (Cardiff)
- Cardiff Devils 6–2 Newcastle Cobras
- Newcastle Cobras 3–2 Cardiff Devils (Cardiff win 8–5 on aggregate)
- Ayr Scottish Eagles 2–1 Cardiff Devils
All eight teams in the league competed in the new competition for the Express Cup. The first round was a round-robin league with each team playing their opponents twice at home and twice away. The top four teams progressed to the semi finals. The semi finals were home and away games with the winner on aggregate progressing to the one off final game.
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1st place (Ayr) vs 4th place (Sheffield)
- Nottingham Panthers 4–4 Ayr Scottish Eagles
- Ayr Scottish Eagles 12–4 Nottingham Panthers (Ayr win 16–8 on aggregate)
2nd place (Sheffield) vs 3rd place (Bracknell)
- Bracknell Bees 3–1 Sheffield Steelers
- Sheffield Steelers 4–4 Bracknell Bees (Bracknell win 7–4 on aggregate)
Winner A vs Winner B
- Ayr Scottish Eagles 3–2 Bracknell Bees
Each team played two home games and two away games against each of their opponents. All eight teams were entered into the playoffs.
|Ayr Scottish Eagles||28||20||1||2||5||117||69||43|
All eight teams in the league took part in the playoffs. Group A consisted of Ayr, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield while Group B consisted of Basingstoke, Bracknell, Cardiff and Manchester. The top two teams from each playoff group qualified for the semi finals, which was a home and away series with the winners on games progressing to the final and the losers progressing to the third place playoff.
|Ayr Scottish Eagles||6||4||1||0||1||19||12||9|
Winner B vs Runner-Up A
- Cardiff Devils 5-4 Sheffield Steelers
- Sheffield Steelers 2–6 Cardiff Devils (Cardiff win series 2–0)
Winner A vs Runner-Up B
- Ayr Scottish Eagles 5–3 Manchester Storm
- Manchester Storm 2-7 Ayr Scottish Eagles (Ayr win series 2–0)
Third place playoff
Loser A vs Loser B
- Sheffield Steelers 5–2 Manchester Storm
Winner A vs Winner B
- Cardiff Devils 2-3 Ayr Scottish Eagles (after overtime)
- Coach of the Year Trophy – Jim Lynch, Ayr Scottish Eagles
- Player of the Year Trophy – Rob Dopson, Ayr Scottish Eagles
- Alan Weeks Trophy – Stephen Cooper, Manchester Storm
All Star teams
|First Team||Position||Second Team|
|Rob Dopson, Ayr Scottish Eagles||G||Mark Bernard, Bracknell Bees|
|Scott Young, Ayr Scottish Eagles||D||Kip Noble, Cardiff Devils|
|Kris Miller, Manchester Storm||D||Shayne McCosh, Bracknell Bees|
|Ed Courtenay, Sheffield Steelers||F||Tony Hand, Sheffield Steelers|
|Mark Montanari, Ayr Scottish Eagles||F||Steve Thornton, Cardiff Devils|
|Craig Woodcroft, Manchester Storm||F||Sam Groleau, Ayr Scottish Eagles|
The scoring leaders are taken from all league and Express Cup games.
- Most points: 58 Tony Hand (Sheffield Steelers) and Mark Montanari (Ayr Scottish Eagles)
- Most goals: 29 Jamie Steer (Ayr Scottish Eagles)
- Most assists: 44 Tony Hand (Sheffield Steelers)
- Most PIMs: 224 Rob Trumbley (Newcastle Cobras)
- Ice Hockey Journalists UK
- The Internet Hockey Database
- Malcolm Preen's Ice Hockey Results and Tables
1996–97 ISL season
|ISL seasons||Succeeded by|
1998–99 ISL season
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