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.
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.
See all the fixtures and the results from the four years of EHL action
Watch Manchester Storm play Moscow Dynamo