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  Monday, 21 October, 2002, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Storm look to Gretzky for help
Wayne Gretzky is now involved with the Phoenix Coyotes
Gretzky could get involved with the Manchester Storm
The future of the Manchester Storm could be saved by NHL legend Wayne Gretzky.

The Storm's Superleague game against the Nottingham Panthers on Sunday had to be postponed due to a cash crisis which threatens to put the club out of business.


It would be a major coup for us if Phoenix came on board
Gary Cowan,
Storm owner

Falling crowds have meant the Storm are unable to pay a second instalment of rent to SMG - the owners of the Manchester Evening News Arena where the club play their home games.

A meeting between Superleague officials and the seven clubs took place on Monday to discuss ways of securing the Storm's future.

One way out could involve Gretzky, the NHL's leading all-time scorer who is now managing partner of the Phoenix Coyotes.

The American team are keen to get a foothold in Europe and have approached Storm owner Gary Cowan about a possible link-up.

"It would be a major coup for us if Phoenix came on board," Cowan told the Manchester Evening News.

"They would give us the financial assistance we need and a wealth of experience in managing a professional ice hockey club, which has been badly lacking in Manchester.

"The next two to three days will be very important for us. I have the 100% support of the ISL and the league's other six clubs who are as worried about the situation as I am."

Unacceptable

ISL chief administration officer Brian Storey revealed everything was being done to keep Storm in business.

He said: "From the Superleague's point of view all the clubs certainly want to keep Manchester going.

"To think that there might be no ice hockey in Greater Manchester, especially with Altrincham ice rink closing too, is something I cannot accept."

Cowan confirmed Storm's Superleague fixture against Belfast Giants at the Odyssey Arena on Thursday will go ahead as planned.

He is also confident they will soon be able to re-open negotiations with SMG.

See also:

18 Oct 02 | Other Sports
20 Oct 02 | Other Sports
17 Oct 02 | Other Sports
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