manchester phoenix juniorsIntroducing Ice Hockey
An exclusive combination of skill, speed, aggression and physical contact make ice hockey one of the fastest and most exciting team sports in the world. Few other games can compete with the frantic pace, intense end-to-end action and lively atmosphere associated with the sport and this is why ice hockey is currently Britain's most popular indoor sporting activity.
Ice hockey in the UK
Ice hockey in England is governed by the English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA). The EIHA was formed in 1982 and since then the number of teams has risen from 60 to in excess of 260 as part of over 40 clubs nationwide. Hockey is a sport with a big future and it continues to grow year on year.
History of the Phoenix Juniors
Construction of the new rink began in early spring 2006. Paul Brown then approached Neil Morris with plans to start a junior club and asked if it could be under the Phoenix name. Neil agreed. Paul got together a committee of parents and coaches who had been involved in the old rink, and created the framework for the new club.
The original aim had been for the rink to be ready for the 2006/7 season, so we also planned to have Phoenix teams ready to start from day 1. In these early stages, our potential players had all previously skated at the old rink in Devonshire Road. However, because there had been a three year break with no ice, there were no players in the youngest age groups. As a result, the plan was to launch with U14, U16 and U19 teams, and have training only and beginner sessions to attract players at the younger age groups, so that we could enter league teams at U10 and U12 after a season or two.
The biggest hurdle turned out to be progress on the rink building work. It fell well behind schedule, and would be unavailable for most of the season. The solution was found by reaching a deal with Bradford, and for the first six or seven months our three squads (under 14/ under 16/ under 19) trained at Bradford, with the EIHA arranging the majority of our home games for the end of the season once ice became available at Altrincham. Nevertheless, 'home' games were also hosted at Bradford and Deeside, where necessary, particularly for the U19s campaign which was due to end before the Altrincham rink would even be ready! Parents and players showed huge commitment in travelling across the Pennines every week in all weathers right through the winter months to get our teams off the ground and bedded in.
The first competitive games played by Phoenix juniors were at a pre-season tournament held in Newcastle in late summer. For the record, the first goal scored for a Phoenix junior team was scored against Newcastle, in the first period of the first game ever played by the U14s. The goal was scored at 1 minute 23 seconds by Paul Swindlehurst. In our opening 2006/7 season, the U19s finished mid-table, while both the U14s and U16s finished as runners-up in their respective leagues and won promotion to the A league at their first attempts. The first home games at Altrincham were played in April 2007, and over the final two months of the season.
The next campaign in 2007/8 saw Phoenix introduce a second U16 team to the league. Following a re-alignment of the oldest age group from U19 to U18, our U18s became champions of the North 2 league, and were promoted to North 1.
Our third season, 2008/9 was highly significant as we achieved our aim of running teams at every age group. Although they were inexperienced, our U10s finished 5th and U12s 8th in their respective leagues.
The club aims to provide a safe, positive and enjoyable ice hockey experience for all its members and to instill a love of the sport that will follow players into adulthood.
By subscribing to the belief that every member matters, the goal of our coaching staff is to give each player the opportunity and encouragement to achieve his or her potential, instructing them on the game's fundamentals and the skills required to play it.
This development programme will enable MPJIHC to enhance the physical, emotional and social well being of its members through the pursuit of excellence in ice hockey.
The club operates independently of, but in association with, the senior Manchester Phoenix club. It is affiliated to the English Ice Hockey Association. Four representatives of Manchester Phoenix sit on the junior club's committee and our policies are developed with their help and input. We consider it vital that junior players can progress from under the age of six to the highest level of senior hockey in the UK in a co-ordinated way. The links between the senior and junior clubs are designed to make this possible.
Manchester Phoenix Juniors always on the look out for new players so to register your interest, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org