On paper, you couldn’t draw too many similarities between ON:iT Recruitment and Manchester Storm… except for the brands’ proud Mancunian roots. But when the ice hockey team’s Business 200 Club networking group brought us together, it was clear we shared far more than just the same city. We’re both young organisations that love what we do – and keen to include the local community in our plans for progression.

To give you an insight into our ties with Manchester Storm, we sat down with two key members of their team – Marketing and Community Manager Simon Bailey and fan-favourite player Linden Springer – to get their views.

Building a perfect partnership

As a representative of Manchester Storm, Simon Bailey knows exactly why the relationship between ON:iT and this famous ice hockey club has proven so fruitful.

“We both really care about growing and contributing to our communities,” says Simon.

“We both want to give something back, and it’s paying dividends. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to get young people involved in ice hockey. Now, more kids want to play than ever. We’re looking at increasing this interest further in the future – providing more facilities in the process.”

Simon was also quick to explain how ON:iT and Manchester Storm don’t have a typical working relationship like you might find in ordinary sponsorship deals.

“This isn’t a sponsorship deal – and we don’t call it that. We refer to it as a partnership because that’s exactly what it is. Both businesses know each other. We all hang out together, and the ON:iT guys were even nice enough to invite us to 20 Stories before its grand opening. We’re very much teammates – and we’re continuing to grow side-by-side.

“It’s a natural-feeling, mutually beneficial relationship that has great potential, and we’re really looking forward to the future.”

Sponsoring a star: Linden Springer

The mindset of our company is summed up in Storm star Linden Springer. He’s a hungry young player with a feverish passion for his role. ON:iT are sponsoring Springer next season – a talent plucked from the sporting wilderness in 2017.

In his home nation of Canada, Springer had slipped through the cracks after failing to convince coaches to take a chance on him. But Manchester Storm proved the exception – as they do in so many other facets of the sport. They recruited this hot-blooded defender on a 12-month deal last season, and the rest is history. Within a matter of months from putting pen to paper, Linden Springer was a star – with experts tipping him to become the best defender in the league as well as the face of the squad.

“The coach Ryan Finnerty saw a video of me playing and liked what he saw, and it’s been a whirlwind of a year ever since I signed on,” says Springer.

“Moving here has presented me with all these exciting new challenges. This was my first year as a pro, which means I’ve moved up from playing about 28 games each year to 70 games in a season. I’ve learned a lot and I’m really loving it.”

“We had a great season as the underdogs punching above our weight and turned lots of heads. I think part of that is down to the recruitment approach. Storm choose people before players, so we’ve got a great group of guys here now. We’ve built some great friendships within the team and next year is looking promising.”

Springer is enjoying his time off the ice in Manchester too, having embraced the Storm spirit by getting involved with the local community.

“We do a lot of work with people around Manchester,” he explained.

“I was doing at least one or two community events a week at one stage, visiting schools and raising money for charity. I’ve really settled here and I’m loving the experience so far.

“I want to play hockey for as long as I can – and I can see myself staying here in Manchester for a while yet.”

We’re thrilled to be working with Manchester Storm and its Business 200 Club, and you can often find us cheering on Linden and the team from the sidelines. With so much lined up for 2018/19, we can’t wait for next season to start…