Heavy Hearts in Hull

Never nice to hear about a team folding – no matter the level, league or sport. For the fans it’s devastating – no doubt about it. For the clubs staff, both on and off the ice – it’s stressful and career changing.

It's a sad day for the Hull Stingrays and the EIHL.
It’s a sad day for the Hull Stingrays and the EIHL.

The Hull Stingrays this morning through owner Bobby McEwan, announced that the club was going into liquidation.

“It is with great sadness I have to inform you that this is the end for Hull Stingrays.”

The rumblings had been out there for a few weeks…the rumours were known to many close to the situation. This is a team that had struggled with the conference system, and the lack of bodies through the door, sponsor issues, plus rising costs to the owner:

“The loss of a major sponsor, increased operational costs, the introduction of ice-time charges as well as the shortage of fans attending our matches have left me with no other choice but to liquidate the club.” McEwan stated this morning on the teams website.

So of course on social media there were well wishes, and expressions of sadness for the club and its fans and staff. This is the good part of EIHL social media – at the end of the day – no matter who you support – everyone knows that this loss of a club is bad for the league as a whole, and the sport in this part of the world.

Carl Lauzon and Omar Pacha did some great work last season for the club.
Carl Lauzon and Omar Pacha did some great work last season for the club.

The negative on social media would be people placing blame and surmising of how this all went wrong etc. I’m not going to dwell on the negatives on social media too much – or even in the perceived facts of it all.

The reality is, that at this current moment on June 24th, the EIHL has gone from 10 to nine clubs (4 hours after this post the EIHL has announced that the Manchester Storm will replace Hull). A team that made some noise getting to the Playoff Final Weekend last year, and within a bounce of getting to the Grand Final, is no more in Hull. Players and off ice staff are left to look for new jobs – some will be successful – others will struggle. This is not the time to place blame or bring out the folks that like to say “I told you so” or those that will say they could do better, or even those that claim that McEwan didn’t do enough to save the team.

Now is the time for us all to realize how hard it is for our sport to survive and thrive in this part of the world. It’s time to support the remaining clubs old and new, by buying a ticket, by buying a webcast or by supporting the EIHL and it’s partners as a whole.

Negativity and finger pointing are a part of our social media world unfortunately – but today lets all just try and send good vibes to those that have lost their jobs – good vibes hoping that this won’t ruin their lives in the short term – good vibes that they all land on their feet, or skates as it were.

I enjoyed my visits to Hull over the past few years – I was always made to feel welcome as a fan, and as a television broadcaster. To the folks that made me feel that way – thanks to you all, and good luck. Hopefully our hockey paths will cross again soon.

-Murph

Bobby McEwan’s full statement:

“It is with great sadness I have to inform you that this is the end for Hull Stingrays.

“The loss of a major sponsor, increased operational costs, the introduction of ice-time charges as well as the shortage of fans attending our matches have left me with no other choice but to liquidate the club.

“There had been interest from parties willing to take control of the club but once that failed to materialise there simply was no other alternative.

“Reaching the play-off finals weekend and coming within a whisker of progressing to the final last season filled me with immense pride.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my three years in charge of the Stingrays – it was a dream come true for me. Sadly, that dream has now come to an end.

“It has been an extremely stressful time for my wife Debbie and I and this is the toughest decision I have had to make in my life.

“I would like to apologise to [player-coach], Omar Pacha, [assistant-player coach] Carl Lauzon and [captain] Matty Davies for not being able to build on last season’s success.

“Finally, I must thank our loyal supporters for all their backing over the years – I am just sorry it has had to end this way.”

You can follow Murph on Twitter here: @MurphOnIce

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