With the Manchester Storm coming off their best season since the 1998-1999 campaign where they were crowned Superleague winners, the Patton conference champions have looked to strengthen their squad in the off season by introducing a few new faces and more importantly keeping others.
Arguably the most important signing at the Storm shelter came when talismanic defenseman and all-round amazing guy, Dallas Ehrhardt put pen to paper for a third season.
The 6’4” locker room leader contributed 23 points to the cause this season but it was mainly his presence behind the scenes that has mattered most with Manchester Storm coach Ryan Finnerty going so far as to say;
“I think Dallas is one of the most underrated defensemen in the league, a big character in the dressing room and on the ice, and has proven a fantastic leader for the team. I’m thrilled to have him back for next season, and I’m sure many of our fans will be as well”
The big man also featured strongly for Great Britain in their dominating performance at the 2018 IIHF World Championships which saw the GB team promoted to the highest level for the first time since 1994 and I for one will be right there in Slovakia cheering my heart out for the lads!
Another strong re-signing for the Manchester Storm is Luke Moffatt; the former Colorado Avalanche draft pick was instrumental in the sides push for the top, contributing 66 points in 56 games (GP56 G34 A32 PTS66), leading the league in goals scored and stamping his place in the hearts of many a Storm supporter in the process.
It wasn’t just the Storm fans that are happy that the 25-year old winger is returning, Moffatt himself went on to say;
“I was planning on retiring at the end of this year, but had so much fun with this group of guys, playing for Head Coach Finner, and in the Storm Shelter. It’s an absolute no brainer that I want to come back! I’m already looking forward to next year… only 370 days until Nottingham 2019 Storm fans!”
Welcome home Moff, I’ll go and get the kettle on for you!
On to a fresh face that’s being brought in for the 2018-2019 campaign, Félix-Antoine Poulin. The 6’2” Canadian has had strong showings while playing for Dundee (GP51 G17 A33 PTS50) and constantly performed at a high level while playing throughout Canada early in his career.
Poulin isn’t just a pretty face though, the Canadian born D-man is also going to be studying for his MBA at the University of Salford during his stay in Manchester and hopefully his combination of brains and brawn can lead the way to another dominant season for the Storm.
Riley Stadel is another player brought into the fold by Manchester Storm coach Ryan Finnerty; this 5’10” baby faced assassin is coming off a solid season for the Dundee Stars where he contributed 21 points in 37 games, 10 of which were goals (GP37 G10 A11 PTS21).
Prior to his time in Dundee, Stadel found himself playing 7 seasons in the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets where he bagged himself 105 points in 270 games.
An offensive minded defender could be just what the Manchester side needs going forward and it would seem that Ryan Finnerty shares me opinion;
“I put a lot of time in to researching Riley Stadel. He’s a young player who can play forward and D. I believe he has the ability to be a top player in this league. As a D-Man he scored 10 goals in only 31 games. He skates extremely well, and can make plays under pressure. I am really looking forward to working with Riley and I’m excited to have him in Manchester”
Welcome to the Shelter Riley!
Another re-signing that is sure to excite a lot of people is the young defender Declan Balmer who, at only 22 years of age, has the chance to really explode this year and make a name for himself.
The 6’3” 200lb defender is keen to get back onto the ice after featuring for the Manchester Storm in their push for the Patton conference title last season;
“For me it was an absolute no-brainer to re-sign. As a team we had a great first year with a lot of success and personally it was my first season in the Elite League and it was a learning curve for me, I didn’t have the year I wanted but from the players around me I matured as a player and I’ll be back better and stronger”
For a young man to come into a team and perform at such a high level, the sky truly is the limit for this man.
Welcome home Dec!
One of the biggest signings however, is the return of Dane Byers.
The 32-year old, 6’3”, 205lbs right winger absolutely lit the league on fire last season racking up an impressive 70 points in 55 games (GP55 G24 A46 PTS70) and was one of the main reasons the Storm put on such an explosive showing. Dane brings back a wealth of experience as he has not only player multiple seasons in the AHL but he actually broke through onto the main stage of the NHL where he played for the New York Rangers, and actually bagged himself a goal.
How can you not want a player with that calibre on your squad?
Welcome back BZ!
So, with a lot of the pieces in place from their impressive 2017-2018 campaign and plenty of time to strengthen and bolster the squad, the Manchester Storm look to build on that success and return stronger with their eyes firmly set on the title currently held by the Cardiff Devils.
You may have the silverware in Wales for now but the Storm coming for our crown! #ATTWWY