The 2017-2018 season was a season of changes, well earned success and a devastating ending!
Ryan Finnerty was named head coach and bought a wealth of UK experience to the role. He played in the Elite League at both the Cardiff Devils and Sheffield Steelers before making the switch to coaching in 2011 with the Sheffield Steelers before moving to the Braehead Clan.
The season brought the introduction of three conferences to the 12 strong Elite League. The Storm were placesd in the Patton conference with Coventry Blaze, Guildford Flames and Milton Keynes Lightning. It was a tough fought group but in March 2018 Storm just edged Guildford to become conference champions
It might have been close in the conference but in the overall League the Storm were six points clear of Guildford having a better record against the teams in the other conferences. Those performances saw the Storm finish second in the league, behind Cardiff Cardiffs but, crucially, ahead of the Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers.
Manchester Storm’s second place finish saw the Storm into the play offs … and just two games away from making finals weekend. All the team had to do was get past the Fife Flyers in a two leg quarter final. The first leg saw Storm travel to Kirkcaldy and return home with a 4-1 lead. The flyers tho refused to lie down and managed to win the second leg by the same sore line .. making the game a tie on 5-5. Overtime kicked in and Fife scored the deciding goal.
Ryan Finnerty said after the final game of the season “We took an 8th place team to a conference title and a 2nd place finish. We had the 10th lowest budget in the league and with help from the University of Salford, we were able to maximize every penny. We brought in a great leadership group along with a load of rookies. We are damn proud of what we accomplished this season and falling one goal short will not define this group. I hope our fans see the progress and continue to spread positivity of where this club is going.”