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
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 and the British National League in 2002/03 led to major restructuring of the Ice Hockey leagues in the United Kingdom. The Milton Keynes Lightning became a founding member of the new Elite Ice Hockey League but instead chose to compete in the English Premier Ice Hockey League. The first Lightning squad was made up of local players and three Canadian imports, Nick Poole as Head Coach, Claude Dumas & Dwayne Newman. Lightning finished their maiden season in 2nd place just 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 and were crowned league champions in the 03/04 & 04/05 seasons as well as dominating the Playoffs until 2006.

2006–2008: League Struggle[edit]

The 2006/07 season saw Lightning struggle in the league for the first time. A lack of new players, predictable tactic and improvements by the opposition being the main drivers. The team ended the season in 5th place[5] and were eliminated from the Playoffs in the first round.[6] The 07/08 season 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 the 08/09 season 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 and finished runners-up behind rivals Peterborough.[9] They then met again in the playoff final at the SkyDome Arena 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 the league 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]

Lightning had an inconsistent 2010–2011 season, finishing 5th in the league and losing the play off final to Guildford Flames 5–3. 2011–2012 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 2012–2013 the forward line was bolstered with marque signing Adam Calder. Ten games into the season, he suffered a catastrophic hip injury and played no further part in the campaign. Calder was replaced by Czech Kamil Tvrdek, who quickly established himself as a fans favourite with the winning goal on his debut. January 2013 brought further upheaval, when to the shock of fans, player/coach Nick Poole retired from playing with immediate effect. Former Columbus Blue Jackets 7th Round NHL Draft pick Janne Jokila replaced him. Lightning finished the season in 4th place and overcame Slough Jets in a Quarter-final playoff that saw revenge claimed for the previous seasons heartache. They faced league and cup champions Guildford Flames in the semi-finals but despite Lightning arguably playing the better hockey, they lost 3–2.

2013–2014: Away Every Game[edit]

The disruption continued for the 2013–2014 season 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 and 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 to find any great 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]

No. Nat. Player Catches Date of birth Place of birth Acquired
1 England Jordan Hedley - confirmed 2014/15 R (1996-08-07) 7 August 1996 (age 17) Walsall, England 2012
93 England Stephen Wall - confirmed 2014/15 R (1981-02-12) 12 February 1981 (age 33) North Shields, England 2012
No. Nat. Player Shoots Date of birth Place of birth Acquired
5 England Ben Russell R (1994-03-24) 24 March 1994 (age 20) London, England 2013
21 England Ross Green - confirmed 2014/15 R (1992-02-19) 19 February 1992 (age 22) Chelmsford, England 2008
55 England Michael Farn - confirmed 2014/15 L (1988-06-23) 23 June 1988 (age 26) Durham, England 2009
66 Scotland Lewis Christie - confirmed 2014/15 R (1989-08-30) 30 August 1989 (age 24) Edinburgh, Scotland 2008
No. Nat. Player Shoots Date of birth Place of birth Acquired
7 England Josh Nicklin R (1992-02-27) 27 February 1992 (age 22) Bedford, England 2013
8 Slovenia Blaz Emersic - confirmed 2014/15 L (1980-10-10) 10 October 1980 (age 33) Ljubljana, Slovenia 2010
9 Scotland Grant McPherson - confirmed 2014/15 R (1987-03-03) 3 March 1987 (age 27) Stirling, Scotland 2006
10 England Connor Goode R (1993-11-02) 2 November 1993 (age 20) Milton Keynes, England 2012
14 Scotland Jordan Cownie - confirmed 2014/15 L (1995-08-01) 1 August 1995 (age 18) Dundee, Scotland 2013
17 Slovakia Stanislav Lascek - confirmed 2014/15 L (1986-01-17) 17 January 1986 (age 28) Martin, Slovakia 2013
18 England Adam Carr R (1984-06-15) 15 June 1984 (age 30) Durham, England 2003
19 England Leigh Jamieson - confirmed 2014/15 R (1985-07-30) 30 July 1985 (age 28) Milton Keynes, England 2008
23 England Tom Carlon- confirmed 2014/15 R (1987-02-18) 18 February 1987 (age 27) Telford, England 2013
61 England Ross Bowers R (1985-07-30) 30 July 1985 (age 28) Luton, England 2011
91 Canada Nick Poole - confirmed 2014/15 R (1973-07-11) 11 July 1973 (age 41) Calgary, Canada 2002

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

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]

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]

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]


  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
Preceded by
Invicta Dynamos
EPIHL Playoff Champions
Succeeded by
Bracknell Bees
Preceded by
Peterborough Phantoms
EPIHL Champions
Succeeded by
Manchester Phoenix