It’s almost time for 2018/19 Ice Hockey season to begin! So we thought we’d ask our Storm TV Commentator Simon Harris (who luckily is our Warehouse Manager) to once again take the helm and become guest blogger. Giving us his views on the Storms offseason and his views on the new season.
Over to you, Simon.
What a summer that was, record temperatures, hosepipe bans and so many barbeques that they got boring, I even had to buy an ice making machine to keep my drinks cold. Yet, for a portion of Manchester’s population it’s a different kind of ice they crave, and autumn/winter can’t come quick enough. For that, dear reader, is when the Ice Hockey Season starts again.
Ice Hockey is BACK!
You see, sipping Pimms sitting in your deck chair, wearing factor 50 with a plate of sausages that resemble charcoal briquettes is all well and good, but us hockey fans just crave the day we can sit in a cold rink with our hoodies and oversized jerseys on! That day is coming on Sunday 9th of September, Manchester Storm have their first home game of the 2018-2019 Elite League campaign against the Nottingham Panthers.
Now, if last season was anything to go by, we are in for one hell of a ride. You see, last season Manchester Storm broke the stranglehold of the league’s big 4 teams. In fact, they ended up finishing 2nd in the league, a feat that belies their budget and facilities, but is more than representative of their hard work and team ethic. It didn’t just end there though, as The Storm also added hardware to their hard work, they won the inaugural ‘Patton Conference Title’. This was the first bit of silverware since the club reformed in 2015 and, if like me you remember the old franchise, it’s the first since 1999.
The 2018/19 Season
Head coach and General Manager Ryan Finnerty has managed to retain the core of last season’s side. A feat in itself, with the bigger budget teams gunning for our top point scorers and judging from the pre-season 4 Nations Showcase they have just played, against teams from Canada, Denmark and Germany. Things are looking promising again!
Record season ticket numbers also suggest more people are becoming wise to the world’s fastest team sport and with sellout crowds in Altrincham towards the end of last season things are looking good for the Storm. With the Elite League reaching a TV deal with FreeSports (Freeview channel 95, Sky channel 422 and Virgin channel 553) ice hockey is now even more accessible to fans of the sport, and of course, the curious onlooker wondering what all the fuss is about!
The league’s structure has changed slightly this year, with the Edinburgh Capitals no longer involved. This year the league has been reduced to 11 teams who play each other three times at home and three times away. Each team will play at least once, at home, every weekend, so there’s plenty of opportunities for people to catch a game.
Steroplast continue to sponsor Storm
This is the second season that Steroplast Healthcare and Manchester Storm have partnered up. Steroplast supply all the medical equipment and consumables needed by the Doctors and Physio team, tasked with looking after these athletes throughout their season, until its final playoff weekend in April. Rehabilitation Lead Craig Collier stated:
“Steroplast are a hugely reputable company and one we are incredibly grateful to have here at the Storm. The products they provide are fantastic and easy to use. 100% recommend to anyone who needs a top class medical provider.”
I myself will be splitting my time at games between cheering on the team from the stands and commentating on games for the Storm TV webcast, a paid service that televises games for fans that can’t make them in person. I hope to see you there.
If you want to see more from the storm now, you can see a special report from ITV Granada Reports on Storm’s imminent start to the 2018-19 Elite league season, just click HERE.
And if you think it’s time you caught a game of Ice Hockey, for ticket information you can visit www.Manchesterstorm.com. You can also find Storm on all social media channels using @Mcr_Storm. Big thanks to Mark Ferriss for his amazing photos of Storm’s preseason action.