The EHL was formed in 1996 to replace the European Cup and to act as ice hockey's version of football's popular Champions League. Its formation was not without controversy, however, as qualification to the League was gained by being the best team with a required venue specification! The reasoning behind this was to ensure TV viewers saw what great facilities the modern day hockey fan could expect .. but in practice it meant that only the Manchester Storm could represent the UK - no matter how badly they performed in the domestic League! Even Sheffield Arena didn't meet the specification required!!
The competition lasted for four years until the IIHF pulled the plug in 2000. The European Hockey League was played midweek and failed to attract large paying crowds. The League didn't get a Europe wide TV deal and the cost of getting a team like Manchester's to, say, Moscow and back midweek were huge.
You can hear a report from the Manchester Storm (4) vs Bolzano (2) game here :
Over those four years though the hockey fans of Manchester saw the likes of Moscow Dynamo and Sparta Prague at the Storm Shelter .... and a few lucky fans got to travel around Europe too.
Storm never made it through the "round robin" format of the competition .. but many of those games were memorable for goals, fights and victories.
(There are match reports and stats on many of Storm's EHL games on the Fire On Ice archive site)
|05/11/96||Berlin Capitals||Manchester Storm||6-1||4,308|
|03/12/96||TPS Turku||Manchester Storm||2-1||4,778|
|24/09/96||Manchester Storm||TPS Turku||0-6||5,987|
|22/10/96||Manchester Storm||Berlin Capitals||2-4||4,831|
|18/11/97||Dynamo Moscow||Manchester Storm||9-3||5,000|
|14/10/97||Sparta Prague||Manchester Storm||3-4||2,972|
|28/10/97||Manchester Storm||Sparta Prague||7-0||6,941|
|16/09/97||Bolzano||Manchester Storm||6-5 (OT)||2,500|
|30/09/97||Manchester Storm||Dynamo Moscow||2-3 (OT)||4,530|
|20/10/98||Leksands IF||Manchester Storm||2-3 (Pens)||-|
|08/12/98||Ilves Tampere||Manchester Storm||7-3||5,434|
|22/09/98||Manchester Storm||Ilves Tampere||4-2||4,072|
|27/10/98||Manchester Storm||Leksands IF||2-3 (OT)||6,453|
|28/09/99||Manchester Storm||HIFK Helsinki||3-5||4,239|
|12/10/99||Sparta Prague||Manchester Storm||1-1 (Pens)||2,542|
|26/10/99||Brynas IF||Manchester Storm||4-1||2,402|
|02/11/99||Manchester Storm||Sparta Prague||1-4||3,859|
|23/11/99||Manchester Storm||Brynas IF||4-5 (Pens)||1,174|
|07/12/99||HIFK Helsinki||Manchester Storm||6-3||6,171|