Phoenix preparations progressing well

Manchester Phoenix have confirmed preparations for the new EPL season and their return to the city are progressing well.

Phoenix spent last season playing at Deeside Ice Rink, but the club are working hard to deliver a new facility in Manchester.

There are also plans for a brand new ice hockey junior development system which will be overseen by Head Coach Tony Hand.

Team Owner Neil Morris said: “The concept moved past being just a vision many months ago.

“I know people are getting frustrated that we cannot just announce its location and unveil all our partners, but there has been a lot of work to do to actually make this project a reality.

“Tony and I would not be working so hard on this venture if we both didn’t believe that we could make this happen.

“This venture will help put Manchester back on the map for ice sports. We are very lucky to still have councils here in the UK with the vision and experience like Manchester to help rebuild our local community sports centres.

Phoenix have also been busy assembling their squad ahead of next season, with Hand already agreeing terms with a number of players.

He said: “It has been a little more difficult but most players are professional enough to realise that Neil and I would not still be doing what we are doing, albeit in the background, if there was no way to deliver a new Arena for Manchester.

“What also makes it harder to recruit is that, season after season, the offers to and expectations of British players increase. We do have a good budget in Manchester but the job is still tough.

“I think the bigger picture shows that we are just not producing enough quality home-grown players to meet the demands of British hockey.

“It will be interesting to see how we can improve this situation while, in the short term, putting an exciting and entertaining product on the ice.

“I have a good picture in my head of the type of players I want here for next season and where I will get them from.

“It’s no secret that Neil and I would like a little more toughness in the ranks – we need someone who will take ownership of the ice once we are in the new building.

“The next couple of months will be exciting for us all in the Phoenix camp and we cannot wait for the first puck to drop again back here in the City of Manchester.”

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