Finnerty unsure of new campaign

Manchester Storm coach Ryan Finnerty doesn't believe there will be a season next year because of the coronavirus (PHOTO: Scott Wiggins)

Manchester Storm coach Ryan Finnerty is unsure the Elite League will be ready to resume in December.

The ongoing situation with the coronavirus continues to cause concern as numbers rise again and instances of localised lockdowns across the country.

And Finnerty, speaking as a guest on Glasgow Clan’s ‘Clan Chat Online’ show, is unsure there will be any action for 2020/21.

“I don’t know if we’ll see a season next year,” he said. “My glass is always half full and I’m optimistic.  If I never turned the news, I would be, but when I do, there’s more talk about a second wave and the virus possibly coming back.

“Plus there’s talk of more places shutting down and it makes it hard for us to say ‘yeah, we’re going back’ and the crowds being there.

“But the main thing will be social distancing and the league can’t operate without fans.  We don’t have enough commercial revenue and the league can’t function with webcasts and anything like it.

Social distancing measures will play a huge part in whether the Elite League can begin again

“It wouldn’t work, certainly not in Manchester and we need all the fans we can get.  We need a big August and September of positivity and maybe we can get some headway.

“I’m still hopeful. Everyone wants to get going and wants to play, but at the same time, it would be pointless to bring everyone over then have what happened in March.  I think that scenario would be catastrophic for a lot of teams.

“I’m leaning towards it not happening, but I hope it does.”

Storm have announced three players for next season, greatly reduced from 17 they had bought in at exactly this point last season and it’s been the same across the Elite League as signing news trickles rather than flows.

Finnerty believes all the Elite League teams will come through the other end of the pandemic, but believes every fan will be relied upon to lend their support when things can restart.

Manchester’s home rink in Altrincham is still closed, like every other venue in the country (PHOTO: Manchester Storm)

He added: “It seems one hurdle after another.  Getting players in on visas is a nightmare at the best of times.  I couldn’t even imagine what we’d be looking at for delays if we started.  Then there’s Brexit too and what that will bring.

“All we can do is follow the guidelines and hope they discover a vaccine, but then, that will take time to roll out.

“I think all ten teams will get through it.  Worst case scenario, we don’t play next year, but I think we’ll all get through it.  It will be tough, but I think we’ll get there.

“But when we do get the go-ahead, we will need every fan and every voice and those people to bring a buddy to help get us going again.

“It’ll be a celebration when it does come back and I don’t believe it will be forgotten about, just because someone didn’t go to a game for six or seven months.

“It’s such a crazy time.  I just don’t see if we can get going.  It’s hard to be really positive about it and I sure hope we can get going.”

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