Ian Bancroft, Chief Officer Organisational Change at Flintshire County Council said, "Flintshire County Council as of Thursday, 14 January was hoping to resume operational responsibility for Deeside Dragons Ice Hockey team, who are based at Deeside Leisure Centre. Since the Summer the Council has been in negotiations with Red Hockey Ltd to develop the ice arena and the team. These negotiations have broken down with both parties seeking an exit strategy to conclude relations.
"At all times Flintshire County Council has tried to reach agreement in a positive manner with Red Hockey Ltd. However despite best efforts this could not be achieved given Red Hockey's inability to conclude financial and contractual arrangements with us. The Council made clear it's position to Red Hockey early last Thursday after seeking unsuccessfully a number of reassurances through normal communication channels about Red Hockey's willingness to complete contracts.
"The Council is committed to ensuring protection of the interests of the team and ice hockey in Deeside. Insecurity and indecision about future arrangements would not have helped this to be achieved. As a result, the Council will be supporting the team to move forward with the intention of ensuring its continued involvement in the league this year and the future operation of the team. While we are disappointed the relationship with Red Hockey Ltd has not progressed as planned, we will work with Deeside Dragons and the ice hockey league to find the best way forward for the team."
Red Hockey said: “Red Hockey can confirm that they were advised on Saturday, January 16th, that Flintshire County Council had ended negotiations concerning the transfer of ownership of Deeside Dragons and taken back control of the club with immediate effect.
“Red Hockey are extremely disappointed with the manner in which FCC have chosen to conduct themselves, having ignored all normal channels of communication and announced their decision to Red Hockey’s staff immediately before Saturday’s game.
“We are particularly disappointed for the Dragons staff and fans, with the team being on the verge of a championship win, FCC have acted in a way that can only cause disruption at a key point in the season and cast doubt over the future of a number of vital coaching and team members.
“Whilst Red Hockey have made offers to resolve these issues amicably, the recent behaviour of FCC has denied the club and the area the opportunity of substantial further investment, building on the current season of success, and suggests that they are intent on a course of conduct which can only be destructive to the interests of the club and the fans. We wish to thank the staff and fans at Deeside Dragons and wish them the very best for the future.”
As you will be aware, we here at Ice Hockey Review are very keen supporter of NIHL hockey and hope that all goes well with the Dragons at this important time in their season. We will follow developments on this story and post more news once it becomes available.