Ice Hockey: Birmingham franchise fix

THE American businessman Blake Cullen has pulled out of the running for the Birmingham Superleague franchise because he refuses "to wait another year".

Cullen, a former vice-president of the Major League baseball side, Chicago Cubs, had always been favourite to ice a team in Birmingham for the start of next season, but contractual obligations of the National Exhibition Centre prevented this.

The Superleague chief executive, Ian Taylor, expressed his regret that the NEC were unable to iron out their problems with Cullen. He said: "I hope there will be other potential investors in a Birmingham franchise because we need a team there to continue the growth of Superleague following the likes of London, Belfast and Leeds."

Guildford Flames are the British National League play-off champions after their 5-1 win over Kingston Hawks at Hull Arena on Sunday night.