Manchester Phoenix have confirmed that they WILL play in next season's English Premier League, although where they will play their home games remains uncertain.

A week of legal wrangling involving Altrincham rink operators Silver Blades, Phoenix and part-owners Red Hockey, led to questions about the club’s ability to ice a team in the EPL.

But after negotiations between Phoenix majority owner Neil Morris and the EIHA, Manchester Phoenix will definitely be part of next season’s EPL line-up.

Discussions are taking place over the use of the Silver Blades Ice Rink in Altrincham, but the club said that in the meantime it has already started signing players for the 15/16 campaign.

The saga began last Saturday during EPL playoffs weekend, when Silver Blades issued a cryptic statement suggesting that it would 'operate' an EPL side out of Altrincham next season. This was followed up on Tuesday by another SB statement which claimed that no contract with Phoenix for ice time next season was in place and which levelled allegations of mismanagement at the Phoenix organisation, including financial impropriety regarding the junior Phoenix teams.

Phoenix issued their own statement on Wednesday which claimed that SB were attempting to "tarnish our reputation and interfere with our contractual relationships." The statement added: "We would like to categorically state that there has not ever been any misuse of any funds by the Manchester Phoenix. Furthermore, we have continuously engaged in good faith negotiations regarding the rental of ice time." 

At the same time, Red Hockey CEO Wayne Scholes, who bought a 34% stake in Phoenix in March, condemned what he called "the tactic of issuing ultimatums and blackmail" and appealed for support “from across British ice hockey,” adding that Phoenix were "under fire from self-interested parties who want to destroy a responsible, long-standing team in the name of profits."

Neil Morris said yesterday: This is great news for Manchester Phoenix and whether we are playing in Altrincham or at another venue, the club will be in the EPL next season.

“We would like to stay at Silver Blades in Altrincham, but I have made sure the situation is in hand. Tony Hand and I already have some exciting new plans for the coming season.”

Wayne Scholes added: "It has been an interesting few days, so to get some confirmation about next season is very reassuring. The EIHA, and in particular Chairman Ken Taggart, have been very supportive.”

"We’re hopeful that a reasonable conversation with Silver Blades can take place and an agreement can be met. It is in everybody’s interest that we get our preparations in place as soon as possible.”

“Rest assured, Manchester Phoenix will be competing in the English Premier Ice Hockey League next season. They are part of the Red Hockey family, and as such, can look forward to an exciting future.”​​