FOMIH Media Release - 19th May 2003

SMG and FOMIH shake hands

Representatives of the Friends Of Manchester Ice Hockey and SMG Europe, operators of the Manchester Evening News Arena, have today shaken hands on an agreement, which could bring top-flight ice hockey back to the city.

Detailed negotiations over recent weeks have seen both parties concur on an ice time agreement for a new club to play out of the MEN Arena next season. The agreement gives FOMIH an exclusive period in which to complete its financial arrangements and become fully operational.

Speaking for FOMIH, Managing Director Neil Morris stated, "We have been in proactive talks with SMG for almost two months and I am delighted that those negotiations have reached this exciting stage in the FOMIH planning to return ice hockey to Manchester. SMG have been extremely helpful and understanding of our belief in the city, the sport and the fans. I believe that the framework and agreement we have negotiated gives FOMIH an excellent platform from which to progress our building of an elite ice hockey club."

John Knight, General Manager of the MEN Arena commented, "FOMIH's Managing Director and officials are adamant that they have the backing to re-launch and sustain top class ice hockey in Manchester. We have been impressed by their plans, professionalism - and determination. Subject to the agreed financial arrangements being in place in the allotted timescale, we have a deal which will see ice hockey return to the MEN Arena this September."

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