Milton Keynes Lightning

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Milton Keynes Lightning
Milton Keynes Lightning Logo.png
City Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
League EIHPL
Founded 2002
Home arena SkyDome Arena (Temporary Relocation)
Colors White, Black & Gold
              
Owner(s) United Kingdom Harry Howton
Italy Vito Rausa
Head coach Canada Nick Poole
Captain United Kingdom Adam Carr
Affiliates Milton Keynes Thunder
Milton Keynes Storm
Franchise history
1990–1996 Milton Keynes Kings
1998–2002 Milton Keynes Kings
2002–Present Milton Keynes Lightning
Championships
Regular season titles 3 (03/04, 04/05 & 09/10)
Playoff championships 4 (02/03, 03/04, 04/05 & 05/06)

The Milton Keynes Lightning are a semi-professional ice hockey team from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, currently playing in the EPIHL. The team was founded in 2002 to replace the defunct Milton Keynes Kings. Their home arena is Planet Ice Milton Keynes, known locally as the Thunderdome. It has a capacity of circa 2,200. The rink is currently under re-development & for the 2013-14 season, the team played out of the SkyDome Arena in Coventry.[1]

Club history[edit]

Founded in 2002, MK Lightning moved into the empty space left by the departure of the Milton Keynes Kings. The MK Kings were involved in a dispute with rink owners Planet Ice, which led to their relocation to Solihull in May 2002.[2] There they became the Solihull MK Kings before being wound up in April 2003, after a single season [3]

2002–2006: Early Years[edit]

The demise of the Ice Hockey Superleague & the British National League in 2002/03 led to major restructuring of Ice Hockey in the United Kingdom. The Milton Keynes Lightning became a founding member of the new Elite Ice Hockey League but competed in the English Premier Ice Hockey League. The first Lightning squad was made up of local players & three Canadian imports, Nick Poole as Player Coach, Claude Dumas & Dwayne Newman. Lightning finished their maiden season in 2nd place, behind Peterborough Phantoms. The two teams met again in the playoff final, with Lightning winning. A rivalry quickly grew between them as they continued to dominate EPL Ice Hockey,[4] MK Lightning gained the upper hand & were crowned league champions in 2003/04 & 2004/05 as well as dominating the Playoffs until 2006.

2006–2008: League Struggle[edit]

2006/07 saw Lightning struggle in the league for the first time. A lack of new players, predictable tactics & improvements by the opposition being the main drivers. The team ended the season in 5th place[5] & were eliminated from the Playoffs in the first round.[6] 2007/08 saw the situation worsen, with a league finish of 6th. This resulted in a major roster overhaul for the new season.[7]

2008–2010: Return to Success[edit]

The new look Lightning squad for 2008/09 included several experienced ex-Elite League players, young British talent & exciting European imports in Lukas Zatopek, Andre Smulter & Joakim Wiklander.[8] After a slow start the team dominated the second half of the season & finished runners-up behind rivals Peterborough.[9] They then met again in the playoff final with the Phantoms winning the encounter.[10] Lightning became the team to beat in 2009/10, despite Elite league Basingstoke Bison & Manchester Phoenix joining the EPL with large budgets to spend. More exciting signings in local star Leigh Jamieson & former Swedish U20 international Monir Kalgoum helped Lightning dominate from start to finish. A home win against Swindon Wildcats in March 2010 saw the EPL league trophy return to Milton Keynes.

2010–2013: Near Misses & Unexpected Changes[edit]

An inconsistent 2010/11 saw Lightning finish 5th in the league & lose the play off final to Guildford Flames 5–3. 2011/12 was no better, again finishing 5th, having led the league in December. The team lost in the playoff quarter finals to eventual winners Slough Jets 11–10 on aggregate, despite taking a 7–4 lead into the away leg. For 2012/13 the forward line was bolstered with marque signing Adam Calder. Ten games into the season, he suffered a catastrophic hip injury & never played again. Calder was replaced by Czech Kamil Tvrdek, who established himself as a fans favourite with the winning goal on his debut. January 2013 brought further upheaval, when to the shock of fans, Nick Poole retired from playing with immediate effect. Former Columbus Blue Jackets NHL Draft pick Janne Jokila replaced him. Lightning finished the season in 4th place & overcame Slough Jets in a Quarter-final playoff, reversing the previous seasons heartache. They faced league & cup champions Guildford Flames in the semi-finals but despite Lightning arguably playing the better hockey, they lost 3–2.

2013–2014: Every Game On The Road[edit]

The disruption continued for 2013/14 as home games were played in Coventry due to the renovation of the Milton Keynes rink. The majority of the previous seasons squad remained, but controversially, Kamil Tvrdek was released whilst Chris Wiggins & Welsh veteran Nick Chinn also left, citing the travelling distance to Coventry as the main factor. Due to a lack of practice ice time, the team struggled for consistency. However, despite this they again finished the season in a credible 4th place. The team were also the runners up to Basingstoke Bison in the cup after an epic two legged semi final performance against League champions Manchester Phoenix. Immediately after the end of the season, it was announced to the disappointment of the fans, that Lightning stalwart Lukas Zatopek would not be returning to the club after six years service. Finnish import Janne Jokila was also released.

Club honours[edit]

Winner (3): 2004, 2005, 2010
Runner-up (2): 2003, 2009
Winner (4): 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
Runner-up (2): 2009, 2010
Runner-up (4): 2003, 2007, 2010, 2014

Arena redevelopment[edit]

In March 2013, Milton Keynes Council approved plans to redevelop the Leisure Plaza and Planet Ice after failed attempts in 2006 & 2011. The development of the arena is being funded by Morrisons Supermarkets and will take an estimated 12 – 15 months to complete. This forced Lightning to play their home games at the Coventry Sky Dome during the 2013/2014 season. The current plan is for the team to return to the redeveloped arena for the 2014/2015 season.

Club Roster[edit]

Updated August 6, 2014. [11] [12]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace
1 England Hedley, JordanJordan Hedley G R 18 2012 Walsall, England
93 England Wall, StephenStephen Wall G R 33 2012 North Shields, England
5 England Russell, BenBen Russell D R 20 2013 London, England
21 England Green, RossRoss Green D R 22 2008 Chelmsford, England
55 England Farn, MichaelMichael Farn D L 26 2009 Durham, England
66 Scotland Christie, LewisLewis Christie D R 24 2008 Edinburgh, Scotland
TBA Czech Republic Horava, PetrPetr Horava D L 29 2014 Kladno, Czech Republic
8 Slovenia Emersic, BlazBlaz Emersic F L 33 2010 Ljubljana, Slovenia
9 Scotland McPherson, GrantGrant McPherson (A) F R 27 2006 Stirling, Scotland
14 Scotland Cownie, JordanJordan Cownie F L 19 2013 Dundee, Scotland
17 Slovakia Lascek, StanislavStanislav Lascek F L 28 2013 Martin, Slovakia
17 England Carr, AdamAdam Carr (C) F R 30 2003 Durham, England
19 England Jamieson, LeighLeigh Jamieson (A) F R 29 2008 Milton Keynes, England
23 England Carlon, TomTom Carlon F R 27 2013 Telford, England
61 England Bowers, RossRoss Bowers F R 29 2011 Luton, England
91 Canada Poole, NickNick Poole F R 41 2002 Calgary, Canada
TBA England Hook, LewisLewis Hook F L 18 2014 Peterborough, England
88 Czech Republic Kostourek, MilanMilan Kostourek F R 31 2014 Czech Republic


Top Ten Appearances (League, Cup & Play Offs) as at end of 2013/14 season[edit]

Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Appearances
1 England Adam Carr 2003–2014 inclusive 512
2 Canada Nick Poole 2002–2014 inclusive 505
3 England Ross Bowers 2002–2008, 2009–2010 & 2011–2014 410
4 Scotland Grant McPherson 2006–2014 inclusive 406
5 England Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 385
6 England Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010–2011 377
7 England Matt Towalski 2005–2012 inclusive 361
8 Czech Republic Lukas Zatopek 2008–2014 inclusive 332
9 England Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2014 322
10 Scotland Lewis Christie 2008–2014 inclusive 311

Top Ten Points Scorers (League, Cup & Play Offs) as at end of 2013/14 season[edit]

Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Points
1 England Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010–2011 766
2 Canada Nick Poole 2002–2014 inclusive 727
3 England Adam Carr 2003–2014 inclusive 415
4 England Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2014 335
5 England Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 271
6 England Greg Randall 2002–2006 & 2007–2009 260
7 Slovenia Blaz Emersic 2010–2014 inclusive 247
8 Finland Mikko Skinnari 2002–2008 inclusive 246
9 Finland Andre Smulter 2008–2011 inclusive 229
10 Czech Republic Lukas Zatopek 2008–2014 inclusive 201

Top Ten Penalty Minutes (League, Cup & Play Offs) as at end of 2013/14 season[edit]

Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Minutes
1 England Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 1131
2 England Kurt Irvine 2003–2008 inclusive 1109
3 Scotland Grant McPherson 2006–2014 inclusive 988
4 England Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2014 714
5 Czech Republic Lukas Zatopek 2008–2014 inclusive 509
6 England Matt Towalski 2005–2012 inclusive 488
7 Canada Nick Poole 2002–2014 inclusive 446
8 England Ross Bowers 2002–2008, 2009–2010 & 2011–2014 431
9 Scotland Lewis Christie 2008–2014 inclusive 398
10 Canada Dwayne Newman 2002–2007 inclusive 374

Season-by-season record[edit]

Associated teams[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "£40m Leisure Plaza refurb", Milton Keynes Citizen, March 2013]
  2. ^ "MK Kings live on in Solihull", Milton Keynes Citizen, May 2002
  3. ^ "Solihull MK Kings finally call it a day", Milton Keynes Citizen, April 2003]
  4. ^ "Phantoms Renew Lightning rivalry", Peterborough Telegraph, September 2007
  5. ^ "English Premier League final table", Milton Keynes Citizen, March 2007
  6. ^ "Lightning win proves to be all in vain", Milton Keynes Citizen, April 2007
  7. ^ "Lightning Set for New Term Face Off", Milton Keynes Citizen, September 2008
  8. ^ "Joakim jets in for Slough", Milton Keynes Citizen, January 2009
  9. ^ "Players are positive after great finish to the season, Milton Keynes Citizen, April 2009
  10. ^ "Lightning fall at the final hurdle, Milton Keynes Citizen, April 2009
  11. ^ "MK Lightning Roster - Milton Keynes Lightning - Team". Milton Keynes Lightning. Retrieved August 6, 2014. 
  12. ^ "MK Lightning Sign Milan Kostourek". Milton Keynes Lightning. Retrieved August 14, 2014. 
Preceded by
Invicta Dynamos
EPIHL Playoff Champions
2002–2006
Succeeded by
Bracknell Bees
Preceded by
Peterborough Phantoms
EPIHL Champions
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Manchester Phoenix