December 6, 2011

Coventry Blaze Face Tough Money Problems - British Ice Hockey in Shock

The Elite League and British ice hockey were shocked to learn that the Coventry Blaze were struggling with money. The club announced that they hit financial problems and may not be able to continue beyond the end of the season.

The news shocked everyone associated with British ice hockey as the Blaze were not only seen as one of the most successful teams in the Elite League era but as something of a model of how to run and build a hockey club. Since moving to Coventry the Blaze have become had success in the old British National League and then in the Elite League and had built a strong fan base.

This season has however been seen the Blaze off the pace in the title race for the second successive season and that fan base has not been as numerous has it has been in the past. The club in a statement did not give any specific reasons for the down turn in revenue but cited the financial crises as a theme to the problems.

Since that statement fans and ex players have been pledging their support with some even buying standing tickets for Saturdays game even though they cannot attend the game.

This news has come on the back of the club releasing Luke Fulgham suddenly on Thursday and there could be more ramifications on the way for the Blaze if new investment is not found. On a wider scale there could be more changes and problems for the league with the Blaze joining a lengthening list of Elite League sides that have expressed problems with money.

It is of course not the first time that successful sides have encountered money problems. In 2001 the former Superleague winners the Cardiff Devils dropped out of the Superleague and in 2002 both the Manchester Storm and the Scottish Eagles failed to complete the season as did the London Racers in 2005. In more recent times clubs in Manchester, Basingstoke and Newcastle have all dropped out of the Elite League with the latter going out of existence.

Neil Tucker

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