Manchester Storm are to reform and return to British ice hockey’s top flight – and they’ll be based in Altrincham.
The Storm, who were disbanded in 2002, will replace Hull Stingrays in the league following their liquidation.
They will play at the Silverblades Altrincham ice dome which English Premier League side Manchester Phoenix, who were formed after Storm’s collapse, have vacated after a dispute with the owners, The Ice Rink Company.
Storm director Mark Johnson, also a director of The Ice Rink Company, said: “The Manchester Storm were a legendary team in British Ice Hockey and it is both humbling and inspiring that we are able to play a part in the continuation of that legend.
Below: Manchester Storm director Mark Johnson (left) with Elite League chairman Tony Smith today
“Going forward it is our intent to provide North West Hockey fans with a team that can entertain, inspire and challenge for silverware. Through strong, creative marketing aligned with a comprehensive community programme the Manchester Storm will become one of the most recognised ice hockey brands in the UK and become embedded within the sporting environment of Greater Manchester and the surrounding area.
“The Manchester Storm are going to set new standards in ice hockey in the North West on and off the ice and we look forward to welcoming the Elite Ice hockey League to Altrincham.”
Elite League chairman Tony Smith said: “The name Manchester Storm is steeped in hockey tradition and it is great that it will once again be in the top flight of the sport.”
Below and top: Manchester Storm in their 90s heyday
Originally formed in 1995, the Storm played their home games at the then Nynex Arena, winning the British Hockey League Division One in their first season and attracting crowds of up to 17,000.
Indeed, the Storm hold the record for the largest ice hockey attendance at a UK league game, set in February 1997, when 17,245 people watched a match against Sheffield Steelers.