EIHA approve Phoenix ENIHL application

Sunday, 10th June 2007

The English Ice Hockey Association, at their AGM in Telford last weekend, has approved an application from the Manchester Phoenix to enter a team in the English National Ice Hockey League for season 2007-08.

Representing Manchester Paul Brown, Chair of the Phoenix Junior Club, emerged from the meeting delighted at the application acceptance. "We're very pleased and excited about the outcome of today's' meeting," Brown remarked. "The formation of this team will see the Phoenix organisation complete a true development path for ice hockey hopefuls' right from basic skating training through the junior system into senior hockey, with the ultimate goal being the potential of icing for the full senior team in the bmibaby Elite league."

Brown continued, "Even before construction of the Ice Dome in Altrincham began, there was interest, speculation and debate about whether there would be a return of ED1 level hockey to the area. Understandably, the initial impetus for the club was to ensure the senior Elite team and the junior club were set-up and operating successfully before fully investigating further options."

Changes to the structure of ice hockey made by the EIHA have resulted in the replacement of Under 19 hockey by Under 18 and Phoenix GM Andy Costigan commented, "on the face of it, this change might not appear too dramatic. But in practise, the club risked losing a significant number of 18 and 19 year olds to other clubs already operating teams at ED1 level. Having just completed a successful first season at the new facility in Altrincham, we were not prepared to some of our prospects skate away to other clubs. Hence we took the decision to apply for ENIHL status now, a move that allows those very same players to skate instead straight into our trials for an ED1 team."

The Phoenix intend to hold two player trials later this month, and will look to add to the coaching and managerial staff for the new team. Confirmation of the trial dates and details of how to apply will be publicised here on the official website shortly.