So, the new Manchester Storm took to the ice for the first time this past weekend, and true to form, one of their actions managed to cause a significant amount of grief.
For all the hoo-haa about this being a “new” club, they have sure been working the nostalgia angle. Ok, I can accept them using iconic player names & numbers to mark off the days until the took to the ice. Thats fine. Even bringing back John Hammond to do the match night announcing. And Lightning Jack, too. Nothing wrong with using nostalgia as a bit of a selling point to bring people “back” to the sport who may have left when the original Storm went up in smoke.
But laying claim to the original clubs achievements?
Nope, I’m sorry, but that is going too far.
The original Storm were ISL champions once upon a time. They won the league title, with arguably the single most expensive and skilled squad of players ever assembled on these shores. And, as is traditional for a hockey club, they marked this occasion by hanging a celebratory banner from the roof of the arena, to remind every visitor that they had won the title.
And then they ceased to be. They went bust, owing a lot of people an awful lot of money. Players, fans, suppliers all got burned when Gary Cowan did his amazing “I’m outta here” act (he even stripped out and sold the equipment from the locker room whilst the players were travelling to an away game). The Storm ceased to be. The club was folded.
Yet, on Saturday night at the new “Storm Shelter” (Or Altrincham Ice Dome to give it it’s proper name), there was a familiar banner hanging from the rafters. Yes, the ISL Champions banner had been hung. The Storm were “back”, complete with all the history and heritage that comes with the name. Except that’s not really right.
You see, to claim that heritage and history for their won, they would have to be a direct continuation of the original team. Which means that some kind of deal would have to be reached with Gary Cowan, as to the best of my knowledge (and that of others far better versed in how the law works) he still owned commercial rights to trade and operate under the “Manchester Storm” name. Sure, the trademarks on the logo had expired, but the actual rights to the trade… And that opens up a whole new can of worms I’m not even going to discuss here right now.
Now, some folks have simply stated that as the new club shares the name, it is entitled to the history. Well, no. Same team name, different club. If no deal has been done, and this is a 100% new club, then the only way to have that “history” is to have bought it, which is indeed what one fan stated on social media: ” We bought it, so it is ours”. No, no, and thrice NO!
You do not buy a history or heritage, you earn it out on the ice. No if, no buts. That title was won the hard way, beating whatever was put in front of them on any given night.
And as for the usual lack of empathy from some sections of the new Storm fan base, well, that was to be expected. Some folks just don’t care, as long as they get what they want. (Although I will give credit to the tiny minority who agreed that it wasn’t right that the banner was hung or used).
So, as i have said before, I wish the new Storm all the luck in the world. in the shark tank thta is the EIHL they will certainly need it. And I hope their fans get what they want (although i think some are in for a mighty shock as the season wears on). But please, don’t steal a history that isn’t yours. Or if it is, then admit it like the “honest, open” club that you are.