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  Monday, 11 November, 2002, 11:05 GMT
Superleague in meltdown
Manchester Storm celebrate winning the 1999 Benson and Hedges Cup
Storm won the 1999 Benson and Hedges Cup

The Ice Hockey Superleague could be down to just five teams after the management of Scottish Eagles advised players to look for new clubs.

The squad and coaching staff were told the news after three days of negotiations failed to come up with a rescue deal.

The Braehead-based outfit were forced two Superleague matches and have now pulled out of the semi-finals of the Continental Cup.

  Storm's honours
1995/96 Division One champions
1998/99 Superleague champions
1999/00 Benson & Hedges Cup winners
2001/02 play-off finalists

They were due to play London Knights at Braehead Arena on Saturday night and then host leaders Sheffield Steelers next Wednesday.

Eagles managing director Bob Zeller said: "My company, which runs the Eagles, will cease trading."

Canadian businessman Zeller has put the future of the beleaguered club in the hands of franchise owner Bill Barr.

Zeller admitted that plans to make ice hockey popular in Glasgow had failed.

He added: "I am hugely disappointed

"I have informed the Superleague about the situation and I have had discussions with Mr Barr's people about the future.

"It is now up to them."

The crisis at Scottish Eagles mirrors that of Manchester Storm, which collapsed earlier this week.

Fans of last season's play-off finalists have launched a fund-raising appeal to try to keep the team in the Superleague until the end of the season.

More than 600 supporters attended a public meeting with potential investors at Manchester Town Hall on Thursday evening.

It was agreed at the meeting that fans would try over the next four days to raise the 150,000 needed to keep Storm afloat. 25,000 has already been pledged.

If the appeal fails, all the money raised will be given to players and office staff, who are owed more than 40,000.

Storm Entertainment Limited, the company that operates Manchester Storm, has ceased trading.

The company will be placed into liquidation at a creditors meeting on 20 November.

ISL chief administration officer Brian Storey has insisted that the league - set up in 1996 - will limp on until the end of the season.

However, he has refused to give any guarantees that the ISL will continue in its current form next season. A major re-structuring of British ice hockey now seems inevitable.

See also:

05 Nov 02 | Other Sports
04 Nov 02 | Other Sports
30 Oct 02 | Other Sports
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