Phoenix nearing end of the beginning

Friday, 3rd June 2005

Manchester Phoenix are confident that the end of the beginning of their plans for a new ice rink development is in sight. Phoenix Managing Director Neil Morris speaking today (Friday) said, "It’s been a long time in coming but, I think we can safely say that the wait is nearly over and will have been worth it. We’ve been in long, detailed and very productive negotiations with Trafford Borough Council and developers David McLean Nikal for many months and all parties have been working extremely hard and diligently to ensure the best possible outcome for all concerned."

Nick Payne, Director of developers David McLean Nikal, who are the Preferred Development Partner for the new ice rink and retail complex in Altrincham comments "We have been in dialogue with our partners, Trafford Borough Council and Phoenix Ice Hockey for several months to try and ensure that a temporary ice rink is developed to bridge the gap until such time as our permanent ice rink is complete on the Station Location site in Altrincham. The permanent ice rink is unlikely to open for another four years, consequently the desire by ourselves to ensure that ice skating and ice hockey is provided in Altrincham at the earliest opportunity is important to our development aspirations."

Trafford Borough Council have been determined to provide an ice facility to replace the old Devonshire Road building that closed two years ago and was subsequently demolished for a housing project, and the Phoenix have been equally determined to find a new venue to house their Elite League team and launch an integrated junior development programme as well as provide a facility for other ice sports and the community. In recent meetings the council have made it clear that they will put their full support behind making this vision a reality in the shortest time scale possible.

Neil Morris continued, "I think it’s fair and right to say that our talks with the council have always been positive and in recent weeks the pace has accelerated. Our partnership with Planet Ice – a proven developer and operator of ice facilities – has undoubtedly helped the processes as their history and experience has further demonstrated our total commitment to the project."

Mark Samaru of Manchester Phoenix commented further. "What we can say is this – the area will have a new ice rink, it will be in Trafford and it will be the new home for the Phoenix and a junior programme. As Neil Morris has said, it’s been a long wait and we know some of the fans have wondered if it would ever happen. There is no wavering in our commitment to the project and when it happens, we want the fans there to help us make it into a fortress."

Mr Morris finished by saying "I have some really important business decisions to make over the coming weeks, do we now put all our focus into building and opening the ice stadium or put all our efforts into getting the Elite League Team back on the ice for early September? I have to be careful not to dilute either project at the detriment to the other".