‘Masters’ of the ice… Manchester Storm join forces with University of Salford to lure three internationals

A University of Salford scholarship programme has helped Manchester Storm secure deals for three international hockey players.

Mark Heatley, Mario Trabucco and Paul Phillips will join the Storm for the upcoming Elite League season, while simultaneously studying for their University of Salford Business School MBA programme.  

The scholarship will allow all three players to complete MBAs in Sports Business, and appears to have been a major draw in convincing the players to join the Storm.

Heatley joins the club on the back of a successful stint in Germany, where he completed eight seasons in the DEL2 league.

An imposing 6’3” centre with an eye for goal, the Storm look set to hand a leading role to the Canadian, with coach Omar Pacha having identified him as one of his top six forwards.

“This chance to combine postgraduate education with professional athletics is extremely rare so it was an easy decision to come to Manchester,” said Heatley of his excitement over the University of Salford scheme.


Heatley’s compatriot Trabucco arrives at the Silver Blades Ice Rink from Swedish side KRIF and is thrilled at the prospect of joining the Elite League outfit.

“When Manchester Storm approached me with the unique opportunity to get an MBA at the University of Salford, there was no hesitation,” he said.

“The idea of playing the sport that I love while simultaneously completing my Master’s degree was an offer I could not refuse.”

Fans will be familiar with American defenceman, Paul Phillips, who produced a series of impressive performances during the Storm’s maiden season, contributing 53 points (15 goals & 38 assists) in 61 games.

“I am looking forward to interacting at a University outside of the United States. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I cannot wait to get started,” said Phillips, keen to stress his excitement at adding an academic element to his career.

The Storm welcome the Cardiff Devils to Altrincham’s Silver Blades Ice Rink this Saturday in their first Elite League game of the season, and will be hoping that a boost in personnel can help them to make a winning start to the season.

A ninth place finish in last year’s inaugural season leaves plenty of room for improvement and their new trio will undoubtedly be looking to push for a playoffs finish.

Image courtesy of Manchester Storm via Instagram, with thanks.

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