Ice Hockey: Phoenix crash in ashes of stadium negotiations

Manchester Phoenix have confirmed they will not be taking part in the 2004-05 Elite League.

Phoenix have only been in existence for one year following the demise of Manchester Storm but have been "unable to secure a viable deal at the MEN Arena".

They had been planning to split home games this season between various arenas, including Deeside and Ice Sheffield, but the club have decided to take a year out to focus on the future.

The club have also announced plans to develop a 3,000-seat temporary facility that can be erected and completed in time for the 2005-06 season.

Phoenix's managing director, Neil Morris, said: "With the full support of the Elite League Board and having engaged in an open forum with the fantastic supporters in order to secure the longer-term future of the club, we concluded that to honourably withdraw for one season is the best solution.

"The other clubs and their directors support our decision not to jeopardise the future of hockey in Manchester by potentially incurring insurmountable financial problems. However, every cloud has a silver lining."