Simon Harris is the Steroplast Healthcare Warehouse Manager, he is also a huge Manchester Storm fan and Storm TV commentator. Now we've come to the end of the 2017/18 season, we thought, there would be nobody better to examine the Storm's performance and give us a review of the season than him. Take it away, Simon.
Manchester Storm 2017/2018
Wow, what a season that was for Steroplast Healthcare and the Manchester Storm, Manchester’s Elite Ice Hockey Club.
Firstly, yes, for those that still don't know, ice hockey is alive and well in Manchester! In fact, it is doing pretty well all across the UK. The twelve team Elite league is the UK's top league for professional ice hockey. It’s the only sport that boasts at least one team from each home nation. It is also continuing to break all of its previous attendance records.
This season was Manchester Storm’s third season since reforming in 2015. However, it was their first with the new owners and head coach Ryan Finnerty.
Ryan had recruited well during the summer, after his move from Glasgow’s Braehead Clan. Bringing in a complimentary mix of youth and experience, some even boasting NHL experience. The Storm fans were excited to see what the 2017-18 season would hold for them, after finishing eighth the previous year.
Back in September
The season started at the beginning of September last year and after a few games it was clear to see, this Manchester Storm team meant business! Although, unfortunately missing out on the Challenge Cup Quarterfinals. They did, top the league, and cause a few upsets along the way.
As the league campaign continued, the Storm managed to keep in touch with the bigger and more established clubs, whilst also topping their Conference, the Patton conference. The conference system basically splits all of the twelve teams in the league into three groups of four. Creating a competition within a competition, as it were. This would be Manchester Storm’s first silverware since their reformation. They managed to beat the Guildford Flames, Milton Keynes and Coventry Blaze to claim the prize of Patton conference title.
Attendances were on the rise in the 'Storm Shelter', as Planet Ice Altrincham is known to it's Storm fans. The Storm continued to put good results together and with consecutive back to back sell-outs made their home games the 'coolest ticket in town', as the season headed towards its closing stages the Storm found themselves pushing current champions the Cardiff Devils all the way. Storm, having beaten the Devils three times out of four meetings they were just eight points behind, with six games left to play of the season.
Ultimately though it was the Devils who ended up winning the league title for a second time with a victory over the Belfast Giants. However, Manchester Storm had secured a very respectable second place, which too many thought was unthinkable at the start of the season!
Now begins the wait till next season, with pre-season friendlies expected around the end of August. Storm fans are in for a long (boring) summer waiting to cheer on their team. In what looks to be an even more exciting season of ice hockey.
What a great season it has been, thanks to Simon for such a detailed and entertaining summary of our first year as part of the Manchester Storm team.
We've loved going to the games, especially Pink The Rink night, as the whole team got to go along. It really is a perfect night out for all the family. It's been entertaining reading all the exciting posts on the teams website, manchesterstorm.com and social media channels. However, the best thing is spotting our advertisement board in match photographs.
We look forward to seeing what happens in the off season and watching the team improve next season.