It is reported that Swindon Steamers, the remains of what was the Ice Lords, will be playing next season in the Premier League.
Rumour has it that the Superleague play-off final, last season played at the Nynex Arena, may change format to have a "best of 7" series in the same way that the Stanley Cup Final operates.
Storm have re-signed Brad Turner and have also signed three new players: Dominic Maltais, Kevin Hoffman and Rick Judland. Dominic Maltais has signed from Hampton Roads Admirals (East Coast Hockey League). He plays in the center, shoots right, is aged 23, is 5'11 and is from Boucherville, Quebec. He has played with Fort Worth Fire in the CHL before signing for Hampton Road Admirals for two seasons scoring 149 points in 130 games, and he attended the Portland Pirates (AHL) training camp in September 1995. He has a picture on the Web - visit http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Alley/3137/dominic.jpg . Kevin Hoffman is a defender and is yet another player that used to play for Raleigh Icecaps. He spent four seasons in Japan and prior to that was at the University of British Columbia. Meanwhile Rick Judson is a left winger who played last season for Toledo Storm, also in the ECHL.
The Swindon Evening Advertiser reported on Sat 7 June that Swindon Ice Lords have folded, throwing a huge question mark over the future of senior ice hockey in the town. The shock announcement, which will be a massive dissapointment to the sport's growing following in Swindon, was made last night by the Ice Lords board. It comes just two weeks after the club were thrown a lifeline by the offer of financial support from Swindon-based Nationwide Building Society. They had pledged an undisclosed figure which was not enough to secure the main sponsorship, but was though to have saved the Ice Lords' immediate future. The Ice Lords board of directors have listed five reasons for the club folding. The board claims their was a lack of support from the local authority with the fee for using the Link rink rising by 400 per cent. The business community, with the exception of Nationwide, also gets a pasting for not comming up with the cash to back the most successful team ever at the Link. The media is blamed for running stories on the rival bid to run ice hockey in Swindon, claiming this was disruptive. The rival bid from Bob Thomas also comes under fire and the board blames the collapse on its own inability to secure funding. Since that was written, it is looking likely that Swindon WILL have an ice hockey team next season, although whether it will play in the Premier League or the English League is not clear. The team is likely to be called the Swindon Steamers.
Rumour has it that Jeff Sebastian has left Storm and has signed for Nottingham Panthers. It is also reported that ex-Storm favourite, Shawn Byram, is set to sign for Basingstoke Bison.
The Sheffield Star reports that Sheffield Steelers lost around 120,000 pounds last season and so are unable to offer players decent contracts next season. Steelers want the Sheffield Arena to help them out by bringing the rent down.
Sat 7 Jun - Detroit Red Wings are the Stanley Cup winners defeating the Flyers 2-1 to win the series 4-0. Conn Smythe Trophy winner Mike Vernon came within 15 seconds of his second playoff shutout and Nicklas Lidstrom and Darren McCarty scored their first goals of the series for the Red Wings, who ended hockey's longest current championship drought with their first title since 1955. "We finally got it and to win at home is unbelievable," said the Red Wings' Steve Yzerman, whose continuous tenure as a team captain is currently the longest in the NHL. It was the seventh Stanley Cup title for Scotty Bowman, who became the first coach to win the Cup with three different organizations. He captured five championships with Montreal (1973, 1976-79) and one with Pittsburgh (1992). It was the third consecutive Finals sweep, only the second time in history that has happened. The Wings were swept in the Finals two years ago by New Jersey and were eliminated by eventual champion Colorado in the Western Conference Finals after recording the most regular-season wins (62) in league history last season.
Stefan Ketola has signed for Storm and has been joined by another Swede, Mikael Viklander. Viklander has played at Brynes and Timendorf (Germany) with Stefan Ketola and also in the Swedish Elite League. Stefan Ketola is described as "The Eric Cantona of ice hockey".
Issue 5 of the Stormforce Newsletter should now be with all Stormforce members. It is "The Kurt Issue". The design is the same as all the previous issues - my copy had a ripped front page! There is a picture on the front page of the "King". Pages 2 and 3 has an article from Mick Thompson, the Stormforce Press Officer, who discusses the Lawless sacking and the arrival of Kurt. He also mentions that the next issue of the newsletter, available just before the start of the season, will contain an interview with Kurt and so you are invited to send in your questions. You can e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll pass them on, or post them directly to KURT QUESTIONS, STORMFORCE, PO BOX 52, MANCHESTER, M21 OFJ. There's an advert for The Fun Factory roller rink on page 4 and the newsletter editorial is on page 5. The next two pages contain "Views From The Press Room" with quotes from the Superleague Play Off Final, facts about Kurt Kleinendorst and a passage from Craig Woodcroft about his Northern Edge Elite Hockey School. The next two pages have a feature on Storm rugby league "alliance" with Oldham Bears. In here it is claimed that there will be an Oldham game that will have Manchester Storm players involved in a similar way as Oldham were in the Storm v Cardiff match when the shirts were presented to the players. There is also an advert for the Great Britain Supporters Club. The centre pages contained a feature on the Presentations Evening while the next two pages had an article from Peter Collins of the North Manchester Express. Page 14 is the Junior Stormforce quiz page and Page 15 deals with EHL away trips. Pages 16 and 17 are the letters pages and the next two pages go into detail about Kurt Kleinendorst's past. The back page just has things like quiz answers on it. Overall it is pretty interesting but is all fairly predictable. Incidentally it also came with an application form for a season ticket and a cut-price admission voucher for Alton Towers.
Storm have announced a series of pre-season challenge games. They will play Sheffield Steelers home and away (these two games will be a 2 leg challenge trophy called ROSEBOWL or ROSEBALL, I couldn't quite work out the name!) with the home game on Sunday 31 August. The away leg has yet to be confirmed. There will be an International Tournament on Sat/Sun 23/24 AUGUST at the Nynex Arena. The teams taking part are Manchester Storm, Tilburg Trappers (Holland), Esbjerg (Denmark) and Amiens (France). Tilberg Trappers played against Sheffield Steelers in the Europa Cup, Amiens were the team that were supposed to play Storm in the EHL this season before being replaced by Sparta Prague, and Esbjerg are returning after playing in last year's tournament. The exact fixtures haven't yet been decided (ie which two teams will play each other in the semi-finals).
Dave Biggar has decided that he will attend Stormforce committee meetings after all. He announced prior to the Stormforce AGM in April that he would no longer be attending, but will now do so.
Stormforce membership pricing has been confirmed as 7 pounds (adult) and 5 pound (concessions). The price is equal to the price of a match ticket for next season. Additional Stormforce membership benefits have not yet been announced.
Ogdens have announced that Storm will train at Blackburn Ice Arena next season instead of Altrincham. There was not enough ice time available at Altrincham Ice Rink next season, apparantly.
Storm will not be training in Slough THIS pre-season, they will be going on a tour to Scandanavia instead! The details of the tour aren't to hand yet.
Mike Morin and Craig Woodcroft are expected to return next season to Storm. Brad Rubachuk is confirmed as returning, whereas Nick Poole will NOT be playing for Storm next season. New signings for Storm are Kris Miller, who has been expected to join for some time, and Jeff Tomlinson, a 27 yr old Canadian centre who has played 4 years in Germany after playing at Raleigh Icecaps, Kurt Kleinendorst's former team.
The following was taken from the Raleigh Icecaps Web site:
KLEINENDORST HEADS ABROAD
The final of the new World Rollin' Thunder Roller Hockey league is to be played at the Nynex Arena in August. The league will play part of its games in Canada and the USA and the rest overseas. The finals will then be p;layed in Manchester. More details about this when I find out.
(RALEIGH, NC) The Raleigh IceCaps have announced that Head Coach Kurt Kleinendorst has resigned from the organization to pursue a General Manager/Head Coach position with the Manchester (England) Storm of the newly formed Super Eight league in the United Kingdom. Kleinendorst is only the second coach in the six year history of the club. The IceCaps have not yet named a replacement for Kleinendorst. In 1991 Kurt became the first coach of the IceCaps and in his second season was named the ECHL coach of the year. In the 1993-94 season Kleinendorst guided the club to the Riley Cup Finals, where they lost to Toledo. Kurt spent the 1994-95 season as the Assistant Coach of the San Diego Gulls of the International Hockey League. Kleinendorst returned to Raleigh the following season. In five seasons behind the bench Kurt has advanced to the post season four times. Kleinendorst has mixed emotions regarding his departure, "The city of Raleigh has been home for the better part of five years for both me and my family, which will make it difficult to leave behind. I have been associated with some great people during my stay here and I certainly thank everyone who has helped me along the way. The opportunity that I have been given in Manchester is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Not only will I get the chance to coach in arguably the best league in Europe, my family will get the opportunity to experience a whole different way of life." IceCaps General Manager Larry Kish wishes the best for Kleinendorst, "This is a wonderful opportunity that Kurt could not pass up. This will certainly give Kurt a great atmosphere to showcase his coaching talents."
John Finnie will not be playing at Storm next season, as new coach Kurt Kleinendorst did not renew his contract. Three other netminders have been signed - no details who yet. He thinks he'll be playing for another UK team next season. John has left a message on the guestbook.
The North Manchester Express newspaper writes that Mike Morin will be returning to Manchester Storm next season.
On a German ice hockey newsgroup it was commented that a player called Stefan Ketola was on their way to Manchester Storm. He is a Swedish winger who last season played for Timmendorf (German 1st division North). He scored quite a lot of points and was a fan favorite. He has previously played for Swedish team Brynas Gaevle. He was born on 2 September 1972, is 1.75m tall, and weighs 80kg. Apparantly he signed for Iserlohn in the same league as Timmendorf in mid-May but Storm have made him a better offer and so he is on the way here. He is a former member of the Swedish national junior team, and played in two World Junior championships. In 1991-92 he played in Canada for Saskatoon, then moved to Germany to play for Fuessen. He then returned to Sweden, joining the Elite League side Brynas where he spent two seasons before joining Timmendorf last season.
The following appeared in the Swindon Evening Advertiser on 3 June:
The man behind the bid to take control of ice hockey in Swindon says he is pulling out of negotiations. Bob Thomas had led a bid to secure ice hockey in the town by setting up a new team, Swindon Steamers, with IceLords favourite Karry Biette as player-coach. And Thomas, who has been responsible for running the sucessful U-19 team, the Cougars, since 1992 and is a former director of the IceLords, had proposed a five year plan which also included the development of sport at junoir levels. But now he says he will not become invloved in behind-the-scenes squabbles over the right to run the Link's teams next year. "We have had two very substantial offers to run ice hockey for the next five years turned down," said an angry Thomas. "Thats it. Our offers have now definately been withdrawn." Thomas was angry that two scheduled meetings with the IceLords and the council had been put off in the last week. Swindon IceLords owner Bob Dewar shocked the fans at the end of their Championship winning season by announcing he would stand down if he was unable to secure major sponsors. But Dewar is angry that Thomas is trying to force the issue when the IceLords are still negotiating a possible deal for next season. "There is no comment right now from the IceLords" said Dewar "This is a major distraction and the business community in Swindon is confused as to the events of the last few weeks. We are hoping to make a decision by the end of the week, depending on how our negotiatings have gone."
Thu 5 Jun - Sergei Fedorov had two goals and two assists and Martin Lapointe also scored twice as the Detroit Red Wings moved within one win of ending their 42-year Stanley Cup drought with a 6-1 rout of the Philadelphia Flyers. The Red Wings, whose last championship came in 1955, can complete a four-game sweep at home on Saturday night. The Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942 are the only team to win the Cup after losing the first three games in a final series. Ironically, Detroit was the Leafs' victim. If the Red Wings win Saturday, it would be the third consecutive Finals sweep. Colorado swept by Florida last season and New Jersey only needed four games to dispose of Detroit in 1995. "We are three-fourths of the way, that is the way to look at it," Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman said. "There is no other way you can look at it really. People are going to write and say things. The people that are going to decide the game are in the two (locker) rooms and I told the team about getting the right focus. You don't win a series with three games, there's not three out of five series. Obviously, we are going to try to show up (Saturday) like we did tonight."
Mon 2 Jun - Brendan Shanahan scored twice and Mike Vernon continued his solid play with 29 saves as the Detroit Red Wings took a commanding 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals with a 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. The Red Wings won both games in Philadelphia and return home for Game Three Thursday. Only three teams have come back to win the Cup after losing the first two games of the Finals and only two have done it after dropping the first two games at home. Kirk Maltby and Steve Yzerman added goals for Detroit. Rod Brind'Amour scored both Flyers' goals on power-play deflections and Garth Snow, replacing Game One starter Ron Hextall, made 28 saves.
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