Red Hockey purchases 34% of Manchester Phoenix
Wayne Scholes wants a â€œone, two, threeâ€ of Red Hockey teams at the top ofÂ the English Premier League next season, after his company bought 34% of Manchester Phoenix.
The Red Hockey CEO hasÂ completed a deal to purchase a major shareholding in the Phoenix, following a lengthy period of negotiations.
Mr Scholesâ€™ organisation already owns EPL champions Telford Tigers and 49% of Precision Sports Marketing, the operators of Bracknell Bees.
Red Hockey will provide marketing and back-office support to the Phoenix, as well as legal backing – but overall control will remain with the current owner.
And with three teams now within the Red Hockey stable, Wayne Scholes is looking forward to a competitive year on the ice next season.
He said: â€œI want this deal to give British ice hockey the opportunity it deserves to expand in the future. With the right guidance, this could help to shape the development of our sport.
â€œWhat we want to do here at Red Hockey is take the pressure off teams, especially when it comes to all those niggly off-ice matters. That will allow Telford, Bracknell and Manchester to concentrate on playing great ice hockey.
â€œFor next season, it would be superb to have a one, two, three of Red Hockey teams at the top. OfÂ course, ask Neil MorrisÂ and he will say Manchester first, whileÂ Andrew and Ben will say Bracknell first! Paul Thomason will say Telford first!
â€œBut all that is great, because it creates competition and camaraderie between the sides. Red Hockey will give these teams what they need to compete at the highest level.â€
The back-office support for Manchester and BracknellÂ will give Red Hockey a major say in the decision-making process, both in in the EPL and beyond.
Scholes added: â€œThe whole point is that by working together, we have a stronger voice. That will help us to influence the league and ice hockey in general across the UK. We are at a crossroads,Â where there are some competing ideas on what hockey should be and the future.
â€œWe just want to make sure weâ€™ve got a good seat at the table, and thatÂ there are some level heads.â€
The creation of a prize fund for the second-placed team in the EPL will see Guildford Flames handed a Â£5,000 cheque at this weekendâ€™s play-offÂ tournament in Coventry.
And with the first-placed team receiving no prize money, Mr Scholes believes a longer-term approach would eventually pay dividends.
He added: â€œItâ€™s great to see one-off prizes for those that need the help, but what we atÂ Red Hockey are building is a sustainable future, so we need something more commercially viable.
â€œThere is strength in secure partnerships where rivalry can continue and sound commercial sense can help our three clubs thrive on and off the ice.â€
Neil Morris, owner of Manchester Phoenix, is delighted to have secured the extra investment in his club.
He said: â€œThe Phoenix ice hockey club has always been successful in Manchester. With the help of Red Hockey, it will now demonstrate how sporting partnerships can benefit everybody.
â€œBoth myself and Tony Hand are excited about unlocking the potential of having a great core of people at Red Hockey to call upon andÂ drive the business forward.â€
Paul Baker, from Red Hockey, added: “Having three teams with a link at this weekend’s play-offs will alsoÂ give both Telford Tigers and Manchester Phoenix a nice lift. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could celebrate this new partnership with a Tigers V Phoenix final? That is what I am looking forward to and hopefully, all three sets of supporters will join us in helping to make that happen.”