The re-formation of the Manchester Storm franchise in 2015 really did cause a ‘Storm’ amongst UK Ice Hockey fans. For many, including myself, it was a euphoric feeling to finally have ‘my team’ back after the heartbreak of losing the original franchise in the early 00’s.

On the flip side of that, there was a minority of fans that branded the ‘re-birth’ of Manchester Storm as a sham, or a ‘fake’ – we decided to take a deeper dive into how the ‘original’ Storm and todays franchise have strongly rooted connections and we ask the question, what really makes a sports organisation, is it the Arena? Is it the fans? Is it the volunteers and staff? Let’s take a look in part one.


We couldn’t kick off part one without talking about our current assistant coach, Mike Morin. Mike joined the club as a player for the ‘original’ franchise in 1996 and stayed with the club until 2002. Mike is currently the assistant coach and plays a major role in coaching the Manchester Storm Academy players. This a very strong connection to the ‘original’ franchise that we’re very proud of.


When I saw the announcement of the ‘return’ of Manchester Storm ahead of the 2015/16 season, it really was an incredible feeling. After being such a big fan at a young age and having such fond memories of attending Manchester Storm games at the ‘arena’ with my dad, I knew immediately I wanted to be a part of the re-birth and play whatever role I could to help things run smoothly. Shortly after learning the news and the first event at the Cresta Court, I received a phone call from Neil Russell, then following a meeting with Neil and Mark Johnson, the rest is history.

After working with Manchester Phoenix for a number of years, starting out as a camera op and gradually getting more involved as the seasons went by, eventually becoming a FT member of staff, I knew I could help the ‘new’ Storm build the match night experience and put a team together to do so and that is what I did during the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons.

It was only when Ryan Finnerty and Jamie Tunstall took over the organisation that I started to learn more about the ‘off-ice’ and business aspect of the club. As I took on more responsibilities and after a number of discussions with Ryan, I became a full time member of staff before the start of the 18/19 season. It was a bit of a crash course as I took on the social media, marketing and commercial/sponsorship role at the club, which was challenging, but certainly learnt a hell of a lot in a short space of time and I have Ryan, Emma and Jamie to thank for that. Since then, the club has grown away from the ice, with new members of staff coming on board, which has been a relief!

Fast forward to summer 2023 and I was offered the Director of Operations role at the club and a dream come true. I have a huge passion to grow the sport in Manchester and i’m very lucky to have an incredible team around me and together, we’re really starting to put Manchester Storm back on the map.


My Mum’s friend won tickets for hospitality during the ‘original’ Storm era and got to meet the team. We Went a few times over the first 2 seasons but started going regularly in the 97/98 season after a school visit from players.

My favourite memories of the Arena days are winning the league in ‘99, B&H cup and taking my wife on one of our first dates to a game in the ‘01/‘02 season!
Memories from this time around is taking my daughter to the very first exhibition game when we returned and catching a puck! Coming second in the league in 2018 and seeing my oldest daughter play for the academy while my youngest daughter is excelling as part of her synchronised skating team, something she first saw at a Manchester Storm game!
I’ve had a few roles and responsibilities within the organisation however I’m now currently the Supporter Services Manager. This is a new role within the club that ties together what I have been doing and I’m looking forward to really getting started as we continue to grow. Improving the fans experience so they can make their own special memories is something I’m really passionate about! It’s great to work with so many people who experienced the arena days as we all have a common goal to make Storm the biggest team in the league once again!
Here’s me watching a game from the old 109! Around 14/15 years old.


And here’s me today, different century – same Jersey!
We hope you enjoyed part one as we look at the connections between the original franchise and Manchester Storm in it’s current form. We’ll be bringing you part two tomorrow as we build towards our ‘retro’ fixture on Saturday 23rd March 2024.