News Archive


  • Storm have surprisingly been allowed back into the European Hockey League next season despite their poor performance in last season's competition, where Storm lost all their games. It was expected that Storm and Sheffield Steelers would be two of the wildcard applicants fighting it out for a place, but Steelers were accepted automatically as Play-off winners, while Cardiff were refused entry because of their inadequate facilities and the size of their rink, but are expected to appeal against the decision - possible with the proviso that they play home games at an alternative rink. The Cardiff decision did not automatically promote Storm to the competition, as Storm won through as one of 14 wildcard applicants, of which only one was accepted. The reasons given for the choice is that Storm have great potential and that the standard of their facilities is outstanding. The European Hockey League next season will follow a similar format to last season with six four-team groups playing for 8 quarter-final places.

  • Defenceman Chris Miller is expected to be Kurt Kleinendorst's first signing as coach of Manchester Storm. He should be able to agree terms in the next week or so. Chris has played in the IHL and the AHL in North America and was with the Raleigh Icecaps under Kurt at the end of last season. Kurt says that Chris has lots of experience and should have played in the NHL but it just didn't happen for him.

  • It is reported that Kurt Kleinendorst is still considering which players to invite back from last season. It seems that any negotiations with John Lawless for next season were meaningless. Kurt has already made offers to Mike Morin, Brad Turner, Dale Jago, Craig Woodcroft and Brad Rubachuk.

  • It is reported that Sheffield Steelers have pulled out of the European Hockey League in protest at the decision not to allow Cardiff Devils into the league.

  • Storm's European League opponents have been confirmed as DYNAMO MOSCOW (Russia), BOLZANO (Italy) and AMIENS (France). The games will take place on Tuesday nights in the first part of the season with each team playing the other home and away to qualify for the quarter-finals.

  • The Premier League and Northern Premier League have announced that their combined 16 clubs will play in a joint cup competition called the Christmas Cup and the early games will be at the end of 1997 with the final stages in the new year.

  • The first Stormforce Annual General Meeting took place at the Millenium Suite, Manchester City Football Club on Sunday 27 April at 1.00 PM. Before I start, I'll just point out that anything written below is a summary of the events of the day, NOT any official minutes or an official press release by Stormforce or Ogdens. If there are any inaccuracies, it will be because I made incorrect notes or that the information was confused at the time. If you notice any inaccuracies, please point them out to me and I'll correct it. To the best of my knowledge, everything here is correct.

    The meeting opened with Dave Biggar announcing, as expected, the news that Stormforce was to become independant of Ogdens and the Manchester Storm team. Dave insisted that Ogdens were still 100% behind Stormforce as the Official Supporters Club of Manchester Storm and that no other supporters clubs would be recognised in the future. He went on to say that after two years in the current situation it had been decided that there were three choices of action. The first would be to remain the same, the second would be to give Stormforce greater involvement in team affairs, and the third, to give them less (or none as it turns out). It was decided that the third option would come into effect making Stormforce the Official, and independant, Supporters Club of Manchester Storm.

    Dave Biggar then made a number of points in relation to this:

    - Stormforce can still use the desk in the Arena

    - There will only be one page available in the new programme

    - Ogdens will not be taking any sponsorship money from Stormforce

    - Access to players will be through Ogdens ONLY and not through Stormforce

    - The 50/50 Draw will be retained, but Ogdens will take 25% of the gross

    - There will be no complimentary tickets available for 50/50 draw sellers

    - There will be much tighter control on the players. They will answer to Ogdens much more than previously and WILL attend ALL functions and events whether they want to or not

    - Birthdays will still be displayed as before on the video wall

    - Jon Hammond will be retained

    - The merchandise situation remains the same (this isn't strictly true - see later)

    - There will be only one source of contact between Ogdens and Stormforce - this means that Ogdens won't be represented at Stormforce Committee meetings

    - The Press Officer will not be able to comment with respect to the team, he is to give Stormforce's opinion ONLY on events and not to act as though they have any control over the team - this is for press and local media (eg. GMR Talk)

    - There will be NO discount for Stormforce members on Storm shirts

    - These rules are being put into black and white so there can be no arguments

    - The players budget will be unchanged or slightly higher than last season

    - There will be more extensive merchandise next season (they weren't happy with the current company)

    - There will be a new shirt next season with a brand new design

    - There will be a new EHL shirt

    - Both new shirts will be at the same prices as this year

    - Match ticket prices next season will be 7.00 and 5.00

    - If you have a season ticket, it works out that admission price is 6.00 and 4.00

    - Season tickets will now not include three exhibition/challenge games, it will include the European League games instead. Season ticket holders must purchase tickets for these challenge games separately

    - There will be eight more pages in the programme and it will remain priced at 2.00

    - The decision to sack John Lawless was 'hard' and that he 'didn't do what was needed' (he refused to go any further at all with this line, despite many questions, stating that he wasn't allowed to say any more)

    - This season must be right from Day 1

    - We MUST be a top 3 or 4 club this season

    - There will be better opening sequence and more entertainment The meeting then moved onto the Stormforce Committee's reports. The important points are noted.

    The Stormforce secretary, Gill, said that she was the link between Stormforce and Ogdens, that PA Business Systems had provided (or were providing?) a computer system for Stormforce. She also said that the Childrens Hospital Appeal target of 8500 had been reached.

    The Events Officer said that she was standing down and that the Nynex staff had all been very helpful.

    The Merchandise Officer, Julie Abram said that it had been hard sorting all the merchandise and that next season, Stormforce will not be allowed to use the Storm or Lightning Jack logos on their merchandise.

    The Press Officer, Mick Thompson, said that Stormforce was well recognised by the local newspapers and the local radio station GMR Talk. He reiterated what Dave Biggar had mentioned earlier that Stormforce was to be treated the same as any of the other press and that he was being invited to the press conferences. He mentioned the Inter The Storm pages and also that Stormforce is helping Esbjerg, one of the teams we played in last season's pre-season International tournament, to set up their own supporters club in the mould of Stormforce.

    The Junior Stormforce Officer, Barbara, said that she dealt with things like autographing shirts for the Junior fans and letters from the Juniors. She also said that she was standing down.

    The Newsletter Editor said that he was standing down.

    The Travel Officer and Assistant Travel Officer, Ian and Dave, said there had been at least one coach to every away game including the European League away games except the Telford game, which was arranged without enough time to sort out travel. They also said that there was a 'loyalty' shirt for every member that travels on 10 away games, white with a small Storm logo.

    The 50/50 Co-ordinator, Peter Robinson, who was also chairing the meeting, said that the 50/50 draw had been a learning curve and that the average payout had been 480 - 500. He gave apologies to all those that had not received their photo of them receiving their cheques on the ice. Next season will see 25% of the 50/50 draw going to Ogdens. It was also decided that the 50/50 sellers WILL get complimentary tickets and that they will come out of Stormforce funds.

    It was stated at this point that next year's Stormforce membership prices had not yet been decided. It will be decided by the new committee.

    The Treasurer, Fiona Loughlin then went through the Financial Statement for the period 18 January 1996 to 31 March 1997.
    
    INCOME & EXPENDITURE ACCOUNT 18/1/96 - 31/3/97
    
    Income:
    Membership fees        13,923
    Travel                 42,015
    Merchandise             5,299
    50/50                  19,255
    Events                  8,073
    Auction proceeds        2,000
    Advertising/sponsor     1,874
    Childrens Hospital      7,702
                           ------     100,071
    
    Other income:
    Bank interest                         199
                                      -------
                                      100,270
    
    
    Expenditure:
    Telephone                 905
    Printing/postage/stat  13,994
    Travel                 40,526
    Equipment                 381
    Licences                   53
    Events                  5,509
    Merchandise             7,121
    Presentation Trophies   1,390
    Team travel sponsor     6,000
    Auction held for team   1,245
    Childrens Hospital        535
    Sundry expenses         2,286
    Auditors renumeration     200
                           ------      80,145
                                      -------
                                       20,125
    
    Finance costs:
    Bank charges                            4
                                      -------
    EXCESS OF INCOME OVER EXPENDITURE  20,121
    
    
    
    BALANCE SHEET : 31 MARCH 1997
    
    CURRENT ASSETS:
    Stock                     355
    Debtors                 7,900
    VAT                       689
    Bank balances          16,471
                           ------
                           25,415
                           ------
    
    CURRENT LIABILITIES
    Accr and def income     5,294
                           ------
                            5,294
                           ------      20,121
                                      -------
                                       20,121
    
    
    FINANCED BY:
    
    CAPITAL ACCOUNT:
    
    Net profit - restricted - Ch. Hosp. 7,167
               - unrestricted          12,954
                                      -------
                                       20,121

    The meeting then went on to the adoption of the constitution "Rules of the Manchester Storm Supporters Club". This part went on for ages, mainly because no one could agree about minor points and that one side of the room couldn't hear what the other side was saying. Suffice to say that the constitution was eventually agreed but I couldn't possibly note down all the amendments, so I'll leave the details of the constitution for when I have them (it's dull anyway!). The main point to come from the discussions was that Dave Biggar eventaully went back on what he had said earlier and offered season tickets to the committee on the provisio that there were less committee members. I'm not quite sure how that got resolved, but I think 10 season tickets were accepted with the rest of the tickets taken as needed from Stormforce funds.

    Finally, after close to 4 hours, the meeting concluded with the new elected members being announced after the votes had been counted.
    
    Treasurer                    Chris Boxall
    Membership Secretary Adult   Jill Robinson
    Membership Secretary Junior  Carol Martin
    Events Officer               Steve Watts
    Assistant Events Officer     Mandy Allen
    Merchandise Officer          Julie Abram
    50/50 Co-ordinator           Peter Robinson
    All other positions were unopposed - unfortunately I have lost the details of who "won" these seats. I'll publish them as soon as I have them.

    I think that just about covers it, except that there was concern expressed that people are being put off travelling with Stormforce because of the so-called fans that choose to travel to the away games. I completely understand the point made as I have seen some of these fans showing less respect for the team than the opposition fans and I myself have no intention of suffering these fans by choice. They seem to think that anyone that isn't part of their "I've been to every away game, aren't I wonderful" club aren't worthy of travelling. Sometimes I wonder how the Storm players must feel at away games when this is the sort of support they have. Although in reality these people are a minority, they are the Storm fans that the public and also Ogdens see.

  • The Caspian Group, owners of Leeds United FC and the new Leeds Superleague team have announced the winner of the competition for a name for the team. The winning name is LEEDS LASERS and the team will enter the Superleague playing out of an Arena adjoining Elland Road for the start of the 1998/99 season.

  • Great Britain has applied to host the Pool B Championships next year and the Pool will be made up of the following countries: Great Britain, Holland, Denmark, Ukraine, Slovenia, Estonia and the two unsuccessful teams in the Pool A/Pool B Play-offs. The Play-offs will involve Kazakhstan, Austria, Poland and the bottom placed team in Pool A. The Pool A Championships begin soon and the play-offs will take place at the conclusion.

  • Mon 21 Apr - Great Britain's hopes of Pool A ended in their final game as they lost 6-2 to leaders Belarus. Belarus took the lead in the first period before Andre Malo scored the equaliser. The second period saw four unanswered goals to Belarus and so GB went into the third period 5-1 down. Doug McEwan pulled a goal back to reduce the score to 5-2 but Belarus rounded off the victory with another goal to win 6-2. The result means that GB finish in 6th position. Other Pool B results are: Swtizerland 2 - 5 Kazakhstan, Poland 4 - 6 Austria, Holland 2 - 10 Belarus, Belarus 6 - 4 Austria (this result promotes Belarus to Pool A), Kazakhstan 6 - 4 Denmark, Holland 3 - 1 Poland, Austria 2 - 2 Switzerland, Kazakhstan 5 - 3 Holland and Poland 5 - 2 Denmark.
                P   W   D   L   +/-   Pts
    Belarus     7   7   0   0   +27   14
    Kazakhstan  7   5   1   1   +10   11
    Switzerland 7   3   2   2   + 4    8
    Austria     7   2   3   2   + 0    7
    Poland      7   2   2   3   - 5    6
    G Britain   7   2   1   4   + 6    5
    Holland     7   2   1   4   -17    5
    Denmark     7   0   0   7   -25    0
  • Sun 20 Apr - Great Britain now have only a slim chance of promotion to Pool A after a 3-2 defeat by Switzerland. By the end of the second period Switzerland had taken a 3-0 lead and it looked like a shutout was on the cards. In the third period Paul Adey scored and then Rick Strachan made it 3-2 to give Britain hope, but Switzerland held out for the win. The result put GB in fifth position in the table meaning that they MUST beat Pool B leaders Belarus to go into the play-offs for Pool A qualification.

  • Guildford Flames who competed in the Premier League last season and were expected to move into the Superleague next season have decided to instead compete in the new Premier League next season. Guildford Chairman John Hepburn said that the management of the Flames as well as the Board have spent a lot of time thinking about the league structure and where the Flames fit in that structure. They came to the decision that Guildford will play in the Premier League next season. They are convinced, having spoken to the BIHA, that the quality of the league will be very good. The Chairman added that Guildford have a long term goal to be a part of the Superleague. "We think that being in the Premier League right now, and growing our players long term, is something that is right for the team and right for Guildford".

  • Fri 18 Apr - Great Britain kept their hopes of Pool A alive with a 2-2 draw against Austria. Kevin Conway put GB 1-0 up in the ninth minute and Doug McEwan looked to have put Britain on their way to a great win with the second goal. But Hehenberger pulled one back and then Ulrich scored for Austria in the last period to level it at 2-2. The result means that GB will qualify for the Pool B play-offs if they beat Switzerland on Sunday. Other Pool B results are Switzerland 6 - 4 Denmark, Belarus 6 - 5 Switzerland, Austria 3 - 1 Denmark, Belarus 4 - 3 Kazakhstan, Switzerland 0 - 0 Poland and Kazakhstan 5 - 2 Switzerland

  • Wed 16 Apr - In a good GB performance in Pool B, Denmark were well beat by Great Britain by 9-1. This brings GB's performances to 2-2 in Pool B games so far.

  • Tue 15 Apr - Great Britain finally got a win under their belts with a victory over Holland by 8-2. Patrick Scott opened the scoring on 8 minutes with a goal to put GB into the lead. Michael Bishop, Kevin Conway and Richard Little also scored in the first period to make the score 4-0 at the end of the first twenty minutes. Patrick Scott scored twice more to complete his hat-trick, Richard Little scored his second and David Longstaff also scored to complete an 8-2 win for Great Britain.

  • There is news of a couple of pre-season games. Just before August Bank Holiday there will be a four team International tournament including Storm at the Nynex, and there will also be a game against a team from Russia.

  • In a shock announcement on Tuesday morning, Ogdens announced that John Lawless was sacked as coach of Manchester Storm. John was one of the most successful personalities in the British game and was inducted into the Hall of Fame only a couple of weeks ago. John will be talking with other parties in this country about coaching possibilities but is likely to return to Canada with his family. He was said to be deeply shocked about the decision when told by David Davies, the Arena General Manager. A couple of days after Lawless's sacking, Storm's new coach Kurt Kleinendorst flew into Manchester to settle into his new position. He will be flying out to America with Assistant Daryl Lipsey to begin his recruitment. He says that he wants to get most of his players before the season starts as he doesn't want to make too many changes during the season. Kurt is 36 years old and is a former East Coast Hockey League coach of the year.

  • Sun 13 Apr - Great Britain's hopes of gaining promotion to the new expanded Pool A are fading as they lost their second game 4-2 against Kazakstan. Paul Adey opened the scoring for GB on 6 minutes but Kazakstan scored four goals without reply before Nicky Chinn scored a late consolation goal. Merv Priest got an eye injury in practise for the game and so if flying home soon. Other results from Pool B : Switzerland 8-3 Holland, Kazakhstan 5-3 Austria and Belarus 3-9 Denmark.

  • As yet this news is still unofficial, but Stormforce tell me that Ogdens have decided that Stormforce is no longer to be affiliated with them and that they will become a Supporters Club independant of the team. This has several severe implications. Firstly and maybe of least importance is that the Stormforce committee - who are all volunteers - will no longer receive any benefits such as free tickets for Storm home games. This means that Stormforce will be surely less motivated to be at every match and their hard work will be effectively unrecognised. The 50/50 draw will now be split 50% to the winner, 25% to Ogdens and 25% to Stormforce. Stormforce membership fees will not be donated to Ogdens or the players air travel fund (Ogdens don't want it apparantly) and this could make Stormforce as an entity redundant - after all there are bound to be a number of "What is the point of Stormforce now?" questions asked and with little motivation there could be moves to disband it. Assuming that there is no turnaround, this will mean the end to Ogdens-subsidised events such as the end-of-season party - at least Stormforce won't be organising one. The decision was apparantly made "suddenly" by David Davies (Superleague director, Manchester Storm director and General Manager of the Nynex Arena). Dave Biggar will be announcing this to the public at the Stormforce AGM to be held at Manchester City FC on April 27th. What isn't known is what prompted the decision. The Stormforce representative that I spoke to in detail about all this said that he believed that the decision was made following the publication of a letter from The Sad Bs in a national ice hockey magazine (IHNR) which didn't hold back with its critisism of everything connected with Manchester Storm. I have not seen the magazine, so I cannot confirm this, but it seems to be pretty scathing. Another suggested reason is that Stormforce are being used as a scapegoat for the poor team performance (ie. do something - don't care what, just something). One of the biggest consequences of this is that Stormforce will officially have NO say in the running of Storm or any events at any level at all. The press end of Stormforce will apparantly be treated as any newspaper journalist would and the programme will be limited to just one page of Stormforce News despite an expanded programme. The most ludicrous appears to be that Stormforce's Press Officer, Mick Thompson, has been told that when he goes onto GMR to discuss Storm and Stormforce, he is not allowed to discuss Storm as a team, just Stormforce. Needless to say, he is wondering why he is bothering. The Stormforce merchandise that was limited very heavily as to what logos it can and can't use, can now not use ANY Storm logos AT ALL!

  • The first Stormforce Annual General Meeting will be taking place on Sunday 27 April 1997 at the Millenium Suite, Kippax Street Stand, Manchester City Football Club. The meeting will start at 1.00pm prompt. The following positions will be elected: Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Vice Treasurer, Secretary, Membership Secretary (2), Travel Officer, Assistant Travel Officer, Press Officer, Newsletter Editor, Events Officer, Assistant Events Officer, Junior Stormforce Officer. There will be Storm representatives at the meeting - it is expected that Dave Biggar will announce the news about Stormforce and Ogdens mentioned above.

  • Great Britain got their Pool B campaign off to a bad start on Saturday with a 4-3 defeat against Poland. Poland scored after just 12 seconds, but Steve Moria (Cardiff) equalised after 1.30. Scott put GB into a 2-1 lead but Britain eventually lost 4-3.

  • In a challenge match arranged as a warm up for the Pool B championships, Great Britain travelled to Austria and drew 3-3 with the home team. Only three years ago when Great Britain were in the Pool A championship, Austria beat Great Britain 10-0! In front of an 800 crowd, Morgan (Nottingham) opened the scoring for GB after 4 minutes of the game. Wheeldon equalised for Austria on the powerplay two minutes before the end of the first period. Austria scored to take the lead 4 minutes into the second period. Tim Cranston (Sheffield) scored on 35 minutes to level the scores at 2-2. Austria took the lead again one minute into the third period and then with seven minutes of the game remaining, Nicky Chinn (Sheffield) scored the equaliser for Great Britain.


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