ICE HOCKEY FEATURE: Meet the Peterborough Phantoms power couple

Peterborough Phantoms club owners Dave and Jo Lane.
Peterborough Phantoms club owners Dave and Jo Lane.
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Parents to supporters to sponsors to owners....that’s the journey taken by new Phantoms power couple Dave and Jo Lane in the past decade.

They took over at the helm following the departure of another husband-and-wife duo - Rob and Sue Housden – in the wake of the club’s English Premier League play-off triumph on Easter Sunday.

But the Crowland-based bosses of major club backers Dalrod (a successful city drain cleaning business) would probably have never become involved in ice hockey had it not been for their children.

Their son, Dan, who now divides his time between netminding duties with Phantoms and Islanders, fancied a change of hobby after initially being a goalkeeper of some promise in junior football circles.

Daughter Kim quickly followed her elder brother onto the ice and has since gone on to become a fully-fledged England international at senior level after a decorated youth career.

And their parents have also made their presence felt with ever-increasing involvement which now sees them owning the two leading senior teams in the city after also taking control of Islanders last year.

Dave said: “We’ve been involved in the sport for about a decade. It started through our children and we really got into it. Our passion for ice hockey just grew and here we are, 10 years later, as owners of Phantoms and Islanders.

“I was involved in the junior committee for a few years and the main focus back then was trying to get the gaps between the three parts of the club bridged. Back in those days the juniors, the Islanders and the Phantoms were three separate entities. Today they remain independent financially, but all come under the one Peterborough hockey banner.

“We took over the Islanders in the summer of 2014 quite simply to prevent the club from folding. The National League is done on a pay-to-play basis and we have heavily subsidised the costs involved for the players.

“And the long-term goal has always been to own Phantoms as well.”

That was officially realised back in April.

“We started to work with Rob and Sue four-or-five years ago to try to help the club become more stable as a club,” Dave added.

“It had always attracted a fair bit of bad press and often found itself in a position of having to release a player in a hurry for financial reasons.

“We wanted to give the boys in the dressing room the equipment they needed to go out and play well at weekends. Our sponsorship, which runs into five figures every season, helps that.

“We always knew when we got involved with backing the Phantoms that one day we would take over the running of the club.

“Rob and Sue did a fantastic job keeping the sport going in the city for 10 years and now the challenge is to keep progressing.

“Although it comes with stresses and strains, this is our release from the day job and we love every minute of it.”

Lane feels that is happening with a successful team complemented by a hard-working set of off-ice personnel.

Their task is to ensure Planet Ice is filled to the rafters on a regular basis although he believes they face a tougher task in doing that than many of their English Premier League rivals.

“We need to get bums on seats on a Saturday and Sunday night,” Dave added.

“We’ve got some great, loyal fans who have been here through the good and bad times, but now we are building on that by going out into the community and attracting new fans.

“We are also going to target specific sectors with promotional drives during the course of the season.

“We have a lot more top sport in this city to compete against than a lot of clubs in the EPL go up against.

“We’ve got a League One football team and a speedway side challenging to win their league whereas in places like Guildford and Telford, the ice hockey team is the biggest draw.”