|League||English Premier Ice Hockey League|
|Arena||Altrincham Ice Dome|
|Team Colours||White, Black & Red
|Head Coach/Director of Hockey Ops||Tony Hand, MBE|
|General Manager||Andy Costigan|
The Manchester Phoenix is a professional ice hockey team from Altrincham, Greater Manchester, England. The club was formed in 2003 as a result of the efforts of supporters group Friends of Manchester Ice Hockey to bring top-level ice hockey back to Manchester after Manchester Storm folded in 2002.
Phoenix were founder members of the Elite Ice Hockey League upon its formation in 2003, playing in the 17,500 capacity MEN Arena. The cost of using such a large facility proved financially untenable, and Phoenix suspended playing operations in 2004 pending the construction of a smaller purpose built ice facility. Construction of the Altrincham Ice Dome commenced in 2006, and the club returned to the Elite League for the 2006-07 season. After three seasons in the EIHL, the club joined the English Premier Ice Hockey League on April 30th 2009.
Origins[edit | edit source]
In 2002, the Manchester Storm, once the best-supported Ice Hockey club in Europe, ran into serious financial trouble and was folded. Initially fans protested against SMG, the company who owned the Manchester Evening News Arena as it was perceived that troubles had arisen due to SMG's disinterest in continuing to house the Storm at the Manchester Evening News Arena. This soon turned into a rally in support of the team and a supporters group known as 'The Friends of Manchester Storm' was established after Gary Cowan, the owner of the Storm officially announced he was finalising the organisation's operations due to unsustainable debts. Once it became clear that the Storm were not to return, FOMS changed their name, becoming the 'Friends Of Manchester Ice Hockey'. 
This group had two established aims, namely to bring top level professional ice hockey back to Manchester and to ensure the creation of a new ice rink facility in the region. In 2003, a club was formed and with fans choosing to symbolically title the team the 'Manchester Phoenix', rising from the ashes of the Storm.
Initial Playing Operations[edit | edit source]
The Phoenix would be founding members of the British Elite Ice Hockey League and played out of the MEN Arena for their inaugural season. Under player-coach Rick Brebant, and later Paul Heavey, the team finished sixth out of eight in the league, the final qualifying place for the playoffs. Phoenix finished second in their Playoff group ahead of the Belfast Giants, qualifying for the semi-final, where they were beaten 6-1 by the Nottingham Panthers. 
Despite an impressive beginning, with 3,600 turning out for the first home game against the London Racers, crowds would not be consistent and it soon became apparent that ice hockey at the busiest indoor venue in Europe would no longer be viable with the season's average attendance being just 2,150 per game. As a result, the Phoenix temporarily suspended playing operations at the end of the 2003-04 season. 
In May of 2004 the Phoenix announced that they had the funding to construct a new temporary ice rink but problems arose as to exactly where to locate the facility. As a result, the deadline for inclusion in the EIHL passed, and the Phoenix withdrew from the 2004-05 season. The club had still not managed to build a new venue by the following year, and announced that the Phoenix would not be part of the 2005-06 season either.  In November 2005, the club announced details of a new rink to be built in partnership with Nikal, David McLean and Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council. The new rink would seat 2,026, with 24 wheelchair spaces, and standing for approx 4-500. Planning permission for the rink was finally granted in early January 2006 and construction began on March 30, with the rink to be sited in Altrincham. 
With progress being made, the Phoenix confirmed their inclusion in the EIHL once again, for the 2006/07 season with the Ice Dome scheduled to host its first game on September 24 2006. The Phoenix also announced the appointment of Tony Hand as player/head coach. This was regarded as a huge step forward for the organisation, as Hand is regarded by many as the greatest British ice hockey player of all time. Unfortunately for Hand and the team, unexpected delays followed and so in the interim Phoenix home games were held at either IceSheffield or Deeside Leisure Centre. After further construction and two further missed completion dates, the rink eventually opened with a reduced capacity of 1,000 on February 25 2007, with Phoenix playing host to the Basingstoke Bison.  It was the first time professional hockey had been played in Manchester for the first time in almost three years. The remaining 700 seats were installed over the following months, with the Dome completely ready for the beginning of the 2007/08 season.
For further information, please see 2006-07 Manchester Phoenix season.
2007/08 Season[edit | edit source]
During May 2007 the squad was rebuilt, with club captain Scott Basiuk and forwards Matt Rich, K. C. Timmons, Adam Walker, Brett Clouthier and defenceman Simon Mangos all resigning to Tony Hand's team as well as the additions of Rhys McWilliams from the Solihull Barons, Jeff MacMillan from the ECHL's Phoenix Roadrunners and clinching the signing of former NHL player Scott Fankhouser as first choice goaltender. 
The season started well for the Phoenix, with Fankhouser winning EIHL player of the week early in the season.  This didn't last though, and results began to slide. Hand reacted to this by releasing K. C. Timmons and signing former Fresno Falcons forward Luke Stauffacher in his place in order to try and create more goal scoring opportunities. Timmons would sign for the Coventry Blaze, and would answer his critics by scoring a hat-trick against the Phoenix at the Ice Dome in December 2007. 
Form continued to be hard to find for the Phoenix though. Despite scoring significant numbers of goals, the Phoenix defence proved to be anything but watertight and high scoring games became a regular occurrence. Manchester closed the regular season on the 23rd of April with a 6-2 away loss to the Hull Stingrays, finishing 7th in the EIHL. This was perceived by many fans to be somewhat of an underachievement by the organisation.
The Phoenix's seventh placed finish ensured a post-season matchup with their fiercest rivals, the Sheffield Steelers. Again two high scoring games would follow; the Phoenix lost 5-4 in Sheffield, ensuring a tense return leg at the Ice Dome. Despite scoring four goals, the Phoenix defence again proved to be a problem, with the game ending 4-4 in front of a sell out crowd of 2150. The draw meant that the Phoenix exited the playoffs in the first round for the second year in a row. 
2008/09 Season[edit | edit source]
For Game-By-Game Log see 2008-09 Manchester Phoenix Season
During the close-season, the Phoenix again re-built their squad. Tony Hand was again appointed head coach and moved to strengthen the British contingent of the squad, re-signing Carl Graham and Adam Walker, fully promoting Phil Hamer from the U-18 squad and on the 16th May, announced the signing of Team G.B. defenceman Luke Boothroyd. Soon after, the Phoenix re-signed a familiar face in Dwight Parrish, who had iced for both the Manchester Storm and the Phoenix in their debut season. Alex Dunn and Josh Garbutt were the final two defencemen signed by Hand.
Hand also signed several more non-British players to the Phoenix roster, re-signing fans favourite Brett Clouthier, and offering Canadian duo Grant Jacobsen and David-Alexandre Beauregard their first taste of European hockey, as well as signing Odessa Jackalopes pair Kenton Smith and Nathan Ward. Smith would also be named club captain. Bruce Mulherin, Luke Fulghum and the hard-hitting Kyle Bruce completed the forward lines for the Phoenix. Manchester brought in first choice Team GB Goaltender Stephen Murphy who had previously played with Tony Hand in Dundee. Phoenix also re-signed Adam Summerfield as backup for Murphy.  Soon after the season had started however, Grant Jacobsen left Manchester to return to Texas and was replaced by Lucas Burnett.
On Sunday 15 February 2009, the Phoenix made club history after beating the Basingstoke Bison 6 - 1 (11 - 3 on aggregate) in the semi-final second leg of the challenge cup, booking a place in their first Cup Final and a two-legged tie with the Belfast Giants in March. There was to be no fairytale ending for the Phoenix, as the Belfast Giants lifted the Challenge Cup. Phoenix were also beaten in the Final of the British Knockout Cup by the same opponents. Manchester would be defeated in two legs by the eventual EIHL Playoff runners up, the Nottingham Panthers. 
Despite the two cup final defeats, the 2008/09 season was a positive one for on-ice operations for Manchester, with the team playing an attractive and far more successful style than in previous years. They would finish the season in sixth place but had spent much of the season in a far higher league position. The Phoenix fans also enjoyed the play of David-Alexandre Beauregard, who won several awards for 'EIHL Player of the Season' and, as a result of his play is regarded by many Phoenix fans as the greatest player to wear the shirt. Problems arose off-ice though, and the club again struggled to balance the books. As a result, at the end of the season, the club declared its intention to move into the English Premier Ice Hockey League. 
2009/10 Season[edit | edit source]
Squad re-structuring for the 2009/10 season, the Phoenix' first outside of the EIHL began immediately with the announcement by the organisation that not only would Tony Hand continue to play, but that he had signed a three year deal as Phoenix Head Coach. Adam Walker, Luke Boothroyd, Carl Graham and Adam Summerfield were also confirmed as re-signed from the 2008/09 roster. They would be joined in a Phoenix shirt by returning goaltender Steve Fone as well as exciting British defenceman Joe Graham, young Scottish forward Iain Bowie and Phoenix ENIHL regular Ben Wood. 
Soon after Tony Hand would announce an exciting double coup with the addition of experienced EIHL and Calder Cup winner Andre Payette  as well as the confirmation of Ed Courtenay in a player/assistant coach role. 
ENL Affiliate[edit | edit source]
In the summer of 2007, the Manchester Phoenix organisation announced the creation of a team to ice in the English National Ice Hockey League, the amateur level below the EPL. The creation of this semi-professional team was seen as the final step in a completely integrated youth development program. The team originally iced in the 'North 2' division of the ENL, but were promoted after a playoff win over the Blackburn Hawks.  They initially bore the Phoenix name and play at the Altrincham Ice Dome, as does the senior team.
The team is currently coached by Paul 'Nipper' Bayliss. From August of 2009, the team was re-named to become the Trafford Metros, honouring the history of the team who skated on the Devonshire Road ice rink in Altrincham. Despite the name change, the Metros will continue to be the ENL affiliate of the Manchester Phoenix.
EPIHL Roster 2009/2010[edit | edit source]
Players as of April 30th 2009
|Number||Player||Catches||Acquired||Place of Birth|
|30||Adam Summerfield||L||2007||Whitehaven, England|
|31||Steve Fone||L||2009||Sheffield, England|
|Number||Player||Shoots||Acquired||Place of Birth|
|2||Andre Mattsson||L||2009||Port Au Prince, Haiti|
|4||Luke Boothroyd||R||2008||Huddersfield, England|
|10||Joe Graham||R||2009||Nottingham, England|
|15||Ben Wood||R||2009||Manchester, England|
|25||Ryan Johnson||R||2009||Sheffield, England|
|Number||Player||Shoots||Acquired||Place of Birth|
|7||Andre Payette||L||2009||Cornwall, ON, Canada|
|8||Greg Wood||R||2009||Sheffield, England|
|9||Tony Hand||R||2006||Edinburgh, Scotland|
|11||Robert Lachowicz||R||2009||Nottingham, England|
|12||James Neil||R||2009||Nottingham, England|
|27||Ed Courtenay||R||2009||Verdun, QB, Canada|
|29||Adam Walker||R||2006||Fife, Scotland|
|33||Iain Bowie||R||2009||Fife, Scotland|
|44||Jaakko Hagelberg||L||2009||Tampere, Finland|
|Number||Staff Member||Position||Acquired||Place of Birth|
|9||Tony Hand||Player/Head Coach||2006||Edinburgh, Scotland|
|--||Paul Bayliss||Assistant Coach||2008||England|
|--||Paul Turner||Equipment Manager||2005||Sheffield, England|
Non-Returning Players[edit | edit source]
Players confirmed as not returning to the club from the 2008/09 season;
|5||Kenton Smith||2008||2009||HC Valpellice Bulldogs|
|7||Alex Dunn||2008||2009||Odessa Jackalopes|
|10||David-Alexandre Beauregard||2008||2009||HC Valpellice Bulldogs|
|16||Brett Clouthier||2006||2009||Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees|
|27||Luke Fulghum||2008||2009||Coventry Blaze|
|31||Stephen Murphy||2008||2009||Belfast Giants|
Honours and Awards[edit | edit source]
- Joe Tallari - EIHL First Team All Star
- 'Man of Ice' Awards - 'Hard As Ice' - Brett Clouthier
- 'Man of Ice' Awards - 'Best Newcomer' - Joe Tallari
- Runner Up 2008/09 Knockout Cup
- Runner Up 2008/09 Challenge Cup
- Elite League Player of the Year - David-Alexandre Beauregard
- Best British Netminder - Stephen Murphy
- Best British Forward - Tony Hand
- David-Alexandre Beauregard - EIHL First Team All Star
- Tony Hand - EIHL Second Team All Star
- 'Man of Ice' Awards - 'Fans Favourite' - David-Alexandre Beauregard
- 'Man of Ice' Awards - 'Forward of the Year' - David-Alexandre Beauregard
- 'Man of Ice' Awards - 'Hard As Ice' - Brett Clouthier
- 'Man of Ice' Awards - 'Best Newcomer' - David-Alexandre Beauregard
- 'Man of Ice' Awards - 'Player of the Year' - David-Alexandre Beauregard
- 'Man of Ice' Awards - 'Outstanding Achievement' - Tony Hand
- 'Man of Ice' Awards - '4000 Points Total' - Tony Hand
Retired Numbers[edit | edit source]
- #17 Dwight Parrish - Jersey retired for services to ice hockey in Manchester.
Head Coaches[edit | edit source]
Individuals who have been appointed Head Coach of the Manchester Phoenix;
Club Captains[edit | edit source]
Players who have captained the Manchester Phoenix;
Two Team Players[edit | edit source]
Players who have featured for both the Manchester Phoenix and the Manchester Storm in league fixtures;
- #09 Mark Bultje
- #15 Mike Morin
- #17 Dwight Parrish
- #18 Alan Hough
- #21 Jeff Sebastian
- #91 Nick Poole
- #93 Rick Brebant
NHL Draftees[edit | edit source]
Players who have played for the Manchester Phoenix who have been selected in NHL entry drafts;
|Position||Player||Draft Position||Draft Year||Draft Team|
|F||Tony Hand||252nd||1986||Edmonton Oilers|
|RW||Ed Courtenay||5th||1991 Exp||San Jose Sharks|
|D||Jeff Sebastian||115th||1991||Winnipeg Jets|
|LW||Andre Payette||244th||1994||Philadelphia Flyers|
|LW||David Beauregard||271st||1994||San Jose Sharks|
|G||Scott Fankhouser||276th||1994||St. Louis Blues|
|D||Mike Lankshear||66th||1996||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|LW||K.C. Timmons||141st||1998||Colorado Avalanche|
|LW||Brett Clouthier||50th||1999||New Jersey Devils|
|D||Jeff MacMillan||215th||1999||Dallas Stars|
|C||Brian Passmore||199th||2000||Minnesota Wild|
|RW||Kyle Bruce||231st||2001||Florida Panthers|
|C||Grant Jacobsen||270th||2001||St. Louis Blues|
|D||Radoslav Hecl||208th||2002||Buffalo Sabres|
Footnotes[edit | edit source]
- Storm Clouds Brewing. www.SportsBusiness.com. Retrieved on 2009-05-08.
- Storm Sink As Cash Bid Fails. BBC.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-05-08.
- Phoenix Bow Out Of Playoffs. ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-05-09.
- Phoenix Take Time Out As Part Of Plan For Future. ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-05-09.
- Phoenix On Back Burner. Manchester Evening News. Retrieved on 2009-05-09.
- Altrincham Ice Dome seating plans (PDF). Altrincham Ice Dome website. Retrieved on 2007-01-30.(pdf)
- Phoenix on ice. BBC. Retrieved on 2007-01-22.
- Bison Partypoop On Phoenix Opener. ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-05-09.
- 2008 Elite Team Roster. ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
- Scott Fankhouser, Player of the Week. ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
- Timmons Hat-Trick Floor Fatigued Phoenix. ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
- Phoenix Bow Out Of Playoffs Despite Superb Effort. ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
- 2009 Elite Team Roster. ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
- Phoenix Beaten But Far From Disgraced. ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
- Phoenix Join The English Premier League. ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
- Phoenix Confirm First Eight Player Signings. ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
- Power Forward Payette A Two In One Boost For Phoenix. ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-08-08.
- Dual Phoenix Role For Ace Sniper Courtenay. ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-08-08.
- Manchester Phoenix ENL 8 v 7 Blackburn Hawks. ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
- The Metros are Back!. ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk. Retrieved on 2009-12-08.
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