Leeds Knights: Manchester Storm coach Ryan Finnerty enjoying two-way street with Dave Whistle

MANCHESTER STORM head coach Ryan Finnerty says he is delighted with the working relationship he has helped establish with Leeds Knights – something he believes is proving fruitful for both teams.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 8:40 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 2:30 pm
IT WORKS BOTH WAYS: Ben Solder has prospered with Leeds Knights, but has also gained a lot of ice time with parent club Manchester Storm in the Elite League Picture: Bruce Rollinson

The two organisations – Manchester play in the full-time Elite League, Leeds in the part-time NIHL National – first struck a two-way deal over defenceman Ben Solder shortly before the start of this season.

Several weeks later, an injury crisis at Leeds saw them come to a similar two-way agreement for Storm forward Harry Gulliver, who has gone on to make four appearances for the Knights, coming to the fore when scoring three goals in the Autumn Cup semi-final win over Sheffield Steeldogs.

But the relationship has already shown players can also go the other way, with teenage Knights defenceman Archie Hazeldine getting called up to play for Storm in the Challenge Cup against his boyhood team, Nottingham Panthers.

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TWO-WAY STREET: Manchester Storm head coach, Ryan Finnerty. Picture courtesy of Mark Ferriss/EIHL.

Finnerty was suitably impressed and believes there is an all-round benefit to both teams going forward, something helped, he believes, by the Knights having experienced Canadian Dave Whistle at the helm.

“I feel it’s worked really well so far,” said Finnerty.

“It works particularly well with Whis’ as he probably understands a lot better the importance of players being able to play up and then also come down.

“He is developing guys down there too, so it’s been a good partnership.

UNDERSTANDING: Leeds Knights' head coach, Dave Whistle Picture: James Hardisty.

“Whis’ is obviously working with these guys and working in different situations and getting them to understand what it takes for them to get the next level.

“It has to be mutually beneficial, as much as it can be. Obviously, Whis’ wants the best possible team come Saturday night and I’m the same, so we have to figure out what that looks like.

“He’s been fantastic and very understanding that if we need our players on a given night, he gets that.

“But it’s going to be a two-way street, we can’t just bully our way into getting players, we have to understand Leeds’s needs as well.”