Coventry is to have its own
ice hockey team in a deal announced by the Skydome Arena today.
The 4,000 seat, £7 million
venue has reached agreement for the Solihull Blaze to relocate to the
city and play all home games on the arena’s state-of-the-art ice
The squad will start training
in August ready for the new British National League season which
starts at the end of the month.
The team will be renamed the
Coventry Blaze and are hoping to build up to crowds of around 2,000
for matches at the rink, which is run by Planet Ice.
Simon Burnett, manager of the
Skydome Arena, said the birth of the Coventry Blaze would add to the
city’s already increasing sporting profile.
“It is great news for the
club, sports fans and for the arena.
“We said a couple of
months ago that we were hoping to attract a top ice hockey team to
the arena – we didn’t necessarily know they would be moving just
15 miles to make Coventry their home!
“We have already attracted
top domestic and international basketball to the arena and Coventry
Blaze adds to the city’s sporting portfolio. We will be hoping to
attract existing Blaze fans, as well as a host of new supporters
from this area.”
Grant Charman, a director of
team owners Blaze Promotions Limited, said the move would give the
club some of the best facilities in the country.
“Planet Ice have created a
top drawer rink which is ideal for ice hockey and perfect for our
needs. We have been connected with Solihull for around 30 years in
one form or another but we have to look to the future of the club
and how we want to develop.
“The rink we use at the
moment was primarily designed for community use whereas the Skydome
Arena is an ideal venue for spectators.
“We still have a lot of
hard work to do over the next few months in putting the team
together and in managing the move into our new home.
“We are also looking make
significant additions to our portfolio of sponsors to ensure that
the team we put out is a real championship contender and matches the
quality of our surroundings.”
Blaze have progressed rapidly
through the leagues over the last three years, winning the English
Division 1, English National League and the English Championship in
1997-8, the English Premier League and English Championship in 98-99
and then moving up to the British National League last year. They
finished seventh and made the semi-finals of the play-off