Notes from the Silverblades “Open Forum”

These notes are presented “as is”. There is no commentary or opinion from myself added to them.

Silverblades “open Forum” meeting. June 10th @ Cresta Court Hotel, Altrincham.

Note: the final 15 or so minutes of the meeting had no bearing on the SB/MPIHC issues. All referenced the new ENIHL and Juniors teams. If people want notes on this, I will happily provide them on request.

Meeting begins @ 19.30hrs.

The top table comprises Mark Johnson, Mike Petrouis, and Heath Rhodes. John Neville also present, as id former Phoenix GM Andy Costigan. A small number of other concerned parties are present also. Mostly parents of Junior players.

The forum is being videoed for future reference. Planet petrouis group are happy for it to be “published” (how/where/when?)

Meeting begins with DVD Gate scandal.

Heath Rhodes (HR):  quick recap of IMP history. Worked with EIHL, and invested £150k in getting coverage onto NASN over 2 year period.

2004/05: Approached by EIHA ref producing DVD of EPIHL play offs. IMP expected a return of £250-£300 for the league.  This was paid for 2 seasons.

2006 thru 2008 No £ paid as return.

2009 EIHA asked about payments. IMP told EIHA lack of returns was due to 90% of teams not advertising the DVDs, ergo no monies paid.

IMP agreed to a one off payment of £5k towards junior development as goodwill gesture. (No further details given). Photocopy of cheque & bank statement shown re: £5k payment.

Stated there was never a formal contract. Felt a “loose arrangement” was better for all concerned.

Presumed that all teams were happy with this going forward. IMP focus mostly of figure skating . Never had any negative feedback.

HR was “disturbed” by remarks anbout “welching” on a deal. Stated this was “Not the case”.

There was “no obligation” to do anything, and any party could “walk away”.

DVD costs: £3-4k to produce. Avg selling price £12. 127 orders/80 sales. IMP lost money on DVDs.

Asked why they continued producing DVDs: Answer was lads enjoy filming them. IMP made money elsewhere.  Was getting very angry at this point.

Shows copy of letter from RED hockey (RH) . Upset at being portrayed as a “thief”.

1 month after P/O wknd RH refuse permission to use Tiger logo. Not allowed to publish any content feat logo.

Gave IMP 5 work days to produce full historic sales data for DVDs. Worried about potential damage to “Brand”.

IMP complied with logo demand. Re-cut DVD to be able to sell nad recoup some costs.

Asked RH for written conf that DVD could be published, as was due to be release don 18/5. Held until 25/5.

RH/Wayne Scholes (WS)would only accept 2 disc released, 3rd disc feat tigers blocked.

Still hopes 3rd disc will be released at some point.

IMP have nothing to hide.

Question from audience: Was Gents agreement a “rolling deal”?

HR: No. Presumed that they would just cont. to produce DVD.

Mike Petrouis (MP): RH wanted to stream. Approached Ken Taggart (KT). No deal., Had agreement with IMP.  IMP to offer stream on Premier Sports website.

RH tried to reach deal with EIHA to cover CC games for 3 years. MP has copies of the agreement doc (admits he should not be in possession of them). Never signed off. Doesn’t want forums misleading. Not allowed to see said draft agreement.

MP is more than happy to do a commercial deal with RH to stream games. No problems with streams being recorded in PI/SB rinks.

RH concerned with copyright infringement. DVD could have potential negative impact on Tigers. IMP had not asked permission to use copyrights.

Postulates that if Tigers had made final, then there would have been no DVD?

Queried why COMTEC have had no issue. Told IMP that there was “no money” in it. COMTEC have filmed at P/O weekend with no problems.

DVD Gate has nothing to do with MPIHC issues.

Podcast was “misleading”.

Mark Johnson (MJ) takes over to discuss the Phoenix:

Documents are ready to show on OHP unit.

Dec 2014: NM contacts MJ about MPIHC having financial trouble. Main cause is more midweek games & blank weekends due to 9 team league. SB offered option to NM re: becoming shareholder rin MPIHC. NM sent copies of team budgets to MJ. MJ saw flaws in MPIHC budgets. Did some research into Freezing Point LTD (MPIHC trading company). Did not look good.

Email shown which referenced a potential £30k shortfall this past season.

Agreed club should remain sole ownership of NM. SB agreed to not take rent for 3 weeks. Email sent dated 20/12/14.

Copy of section of ice time agreement between SB and MPIHC shown on OHP. Deal set up in 2007-2008, drafted by MPIHC, not SB. Shows terms of £2,250 per week (plus VAT), even if game not played. Additional £250 per week, plus VAT for use of White Magic shop, plus storage areas. This was paid by DD and has never been defaulted on.

Money was taken from door receipts. Any remainder was then paid onwards to MPIHC.  Never any further agreement.

Shown detail of a sign off sheet.

Jan 2015: SB discovered that ice time for Juniors had not been paid for Oct thru Dec 2014. SB offer to help raise club income via hockey schools etc. @ £16k outstanding.

Meeting between NM, MJ, Vernon Neil (VN), and Tony Hand (TH). TH apparently unaware of issue.

Agreement has always been SB invoice MPIHC (undated invoice shown as proof), as Juniors not VAT regd. Saves juniors money. Shown bank statement setail showing payment from Juniors to MPIHC of approx. £5k. Money never paid onwards.

Phoenix said money sent. Never arrived. No money in the bank. MP holds up 2 bank transfer statements that never arrived. No money in bank.

MP states there ws no “bulk purchase” of ice time.  £9k claim “smoke and mirrors”. All rents separate. Phoenix acted as “agent” for Juniors.

Email shown: MJ/SB disappointed that money from Juniors was used to fund senior club.

Bank refused to honour payments. Ann (Goh, MPIHC finance) knowingly lied about payments. Club not in position to pay.

Given 24hours to pay, or ice would be withdrawn.

MP: They had the juniors’ money for 3 months and said nothing. Instead they asked us for more and more credit.

No position to go forwards at this point.

Threat was made to get reaction. Normal SB/PI practise. Rec teams. Figure skaters.

Email: Juniors will ,pay direct from now on.

NM talks to Nigel Soens. NM gives & signs personal guarantee Juniors debt will be paid. Juniors to pay North West Winter Sports Foundation (charitable org, Vat exempt).

NM put up personal guarantee for £11,836. To be paid within 2 months from 1st March 2015. Did not cover outstanding £9k. That was other.

SB asked NM not to put Season Tickets on sale until issues resolved. Email shown stating this, and noting no ice time deal was currently in place for 2015/16.

MP stresses this was well before RH were involved.

Did discuss helping MPIHC. Meeting in Widnes. Agreed outline 3 year deal:

£1.8k per week plus VAT. All Sundays & training ice inc. 5% increase per year. Asked again not to sell STs until signed deal. STs cont to be sold. SB felt no ice for club, so asked for sales to stop. Response requested by 14*3. None recd.

SB very nervy about continued St sales without a signed ice time deal.

Asked NM to confirm 3 new shareholders in MPIHC. Who & how much. Full details asked for. Notes MPIHC not a stable entity.

Found out via the PR that RH was involved. Tried to communicate with NM & RH about this. Never met with Wayne Scholes.

Asked for meeting, Never happened. MJ asked to find NM and ask what was going on. MJ found NM and asked. About Rh and no ice deal.

NM called MJ a “Shithead”, “piece of Shit”, and “who the fuck are you?”. Was told in response, “I own the ice”.

Decided to release PR 3 hours later after research on RH and associated companies.  Reports on RH et all gave MP “No comfort”.

No contact since.

MJ sent 1 email to NM asking why he was hiding with Paul Baker behind wall near rink.

No response.

MP: reality is NM had juniors money for 5 months.

Freezing Point owes lots of money. NM guarantee was satisfied (paid) on 1st May.

Claim issued against Freezing Point for £25k debt.14 days to respond. Agreed to an extension for MPIHC to organise defence.

More emails. Not able to show. Part of court proceedings.

Email shown from earlier in year (Jan 2015) offering NM 3 options:  Higher rent to cover debt, Personal guarantee, SB take sole ownership of MPIHC.

In same email, SB suggest they would add Widnes and possibly Gillingham to EPIHL . Not accepted by league. One off £70k investment by SB, other clubs give up their P/O money (@ £2.2k each) to invest in new member. Gain extra fixtures.

Point made by MP that whilst NM was trying to get credit with SB, he owns players houses and was paying himself rent. Lied about commercial interests.

RH did not figure in any of this.

References to people hiding on forums. MP directly addresses myself over this. Agrees people should be honest about who they are on forums. MJ adds his THF username is Mario66. Admit I already was aware of this.

Again “not about Red Hockey”.

MP does not want “power”. Just money. Not interested in being team owner. Refernces an unnamed party in crowd, “but he is”.

Question: Is junior money settled?

Answer: Yes. FP settled it May 1st.

SB sat down ad spoke to juniors. Showed then Emails between MJ and NM. Made juniors offer:

There would be a junior system with or without their (juniors committee) involvement.

Juniors agree. Rebranded Trafford Tornados going forward.

Rhetorical question about why SC have not asked to see proof from MP.

Due Dilligence on RH:

RED Ltd/RED Hockey/RED Intel ltd.

RED Intel: No rating (dormant)

RED ltd: score of 47/100 credit limit £500

RED Hockey ltd: Score of 44/100, credit limit £500.

MP admits that this is not unusual for new companies.

All info public domain (companies house etc).

Ltd company took stake in Phoenix. In MP opinion added no stability to MPIHC. Admits finance could all be offshore (USA?)

Invited to meeting.

Info did not add up.

Analogy: Would you rent your house to someone with poor credit score?

Too reluctant.

£25k overview:

Historic ice time costs never invoiced or paid. Mostly from last 2 seasons.

Amount changed to £35k, not £25k at this point. Has copies of court forms for people to see.

Admits Sb at fault for not chasing owed rent. Blames lax standards for auditing games. Some invoices not issued by Sb at all.

Further details on ice costs:

Sundays: £2,250

Sat: £1.5k extra

Thursday: £500 extra.

All plus VAT.

Proposed new deal was flat £1.8k plus vat irrespective of game night.

Question from Andy Costigan (AC): Is bridge 100% burnt?

MP: 100% yes.

AC gives a brief character bio on MP. AC believes MPIHC playing out of Deeside will hurt hockey in Manchester. Senior Hockey is in danger.

MP states he has had no contact from NM.

Swindon have contacted MP to ask if he would meet with WS. Would meet for coffee, but not meal.

SB made application to place team in EPIHL for next season. 5 teams agreed. Teams have to be voted in.

KT agreed to talk to teams re SB team. No agreement to be reached until league AGM on21st June. Not enough time to recruit, so no team.

Would not reveal who backed SB entry into league.

RH asked for vote to be held at AGM. 1 team abstained.

SB now running Minotaurs. To be renamed soon. Big refurb coming at rink.

At this point, the meeting becomes a discussion of the refurb, plans for the juniors, etc. No further reference to the issue with MPIHC, expect:

MP states he has never had a cross word with NM. Stresses that he personally and NM have not “fallen out”.

One comment

  1. Thanks for your notes Robb and just like to say I now see you in a very different light in a positive way.

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