PHANTOMS PREVIEW: Owners urge their super fans to be patient
Peterborough Phantoms owners Dave and Jo Lane are looking forward to another quest for English premier League honours.
The Crowland couple’s first season at the helm provide a mixture of pride and disappointment as Phantoms established themselves as a force only to fall just short on three fronts in the chase for honours.
They finished as runners-up to champions Basingstoke in the regular season, runners-up in the EPL Cup following a final defeat to Guildford, and also fell to the same Flames team in the semi-finals of the play-offs.
Now the city club go back into battle with a revamped squad when the new campaign begins this weekend, and the owners have urged for patience from supporters while the new-look roster settles in to life in the second tier of the sport.
In a joint statement, the Lanes said: “We were really proud of all the players, coaches and backroom staff last season.
“Yes, it was maybe a little disheartening to finish the season with no silverware after being so close, but following on from the great achievement of winning the play-offs the previous season, the club proved it can sustain and compete at this level.
“We showed we were not just a one-season success, which was very pleasing, and the aim is to continue pushing for silverware in the new campaign.
“We all recognise that will prove difficult over a 54-game season, even though we have put an increased budget in place, as a number of clubs have invested heavily in their squads.
“I feel we boast some of the best hockey fans in the country and they have stood by the club through thick and thin.
“I’m sure they will get behind the new-look team for this season just as they have done Peterborough sides in the past.
“We have an abundance of youth in the roster and those guys bring speed, passion and hunger to the table.
“They may well take a few games to adjust and gel as a team, but we’re sure we can have a good season and we can ensure Phantoms continues to be one of the best clubs around.”
And the husband-and-wife chiefs, also the club’s major backers through their Dalrod company, are optimistic of seeing crowd figures rise again during the 2016/17 season.
They will also continue to spread the Phantoms word in the community with more focus placed on marketing and attracting new faces (both young and old) to Planet Ice.
They added: “We have worked hard to build our fan base during the past few seasons.
“We now have a solid following at home and on the road, and we’re also lucky to have the dedicated group of volunteers that any club needs.
“Attendances are growing and we are also attracting new sponsors – both of which we hope can continue.
“The investment Planet Ice have put into revamping the café and bar areas at the rink, will hopefully help in that respect.
“We have a solid structure on and off the ice. We work hard to promote the club in the community and also have some of our players helping us to deliver our school’s project across the city, something which introduces children and their parents to the sport.”