It is a shame that we don't make more of our hockey but it really doesn't have much of a following outside the few cities with ice rinks. I don't think it even made the local news and my local news comes from Nottingham, home to one of the UKs biggest teams.
People don't know what a great game they are missing, far less boring than football.
I don't think the games transition from amateur to professional in the very late 80s, early 90s was handled very well. Many rinks closed, there was a consolidation in the race for the money. So public access declined to generally skating declined. The same rinks were used for figure skaters who also suffered less access.
I know, I played a little in the early 80s but after the 84 Olympics with Torvill and Dean, junior Ice Hockey was relegated to 5am slots to cope with the hordes of ice dancers. I had to quit as the earliest bus to Nottingham got there at 7am. I coulda been a contender!