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 MK Arena
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 the refurbished and renamed MK Arena, known locally as the Thunderdome. It has a capacity of circa 2,500.

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.[1] There they became the Solihull MK Kings before being wound up in April 2003, after a single season [2]

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,[3] MK Lightning 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[4] & were eliminated from the Playoffs in the first round.[5] 2007/08 saw the situation worsen, with a league finish of 6th. This resulted in a major roster overhaul for the new season.[6]

2008–2010: Return to Success[edit]

The Lightning squad for 2008/09 included several experienced ex-Elite League players, young British talent & new European imports in Lukas Zatopek, Andre Smulter & Joakim Wiklander.[7] After a slow start the team dominated the second half of the season & finished runners-up behind Peterborough.[8] They then met again in the playoff final with the Phantoms winning the encounter.[9] Lightning became the team to beat in 2009/10, despite big spending Basingstoke Bison & Manchester Phoenix joining the EPL. More exciting signings in local star Leigh Jamieson & former Swedish U20 international Monir Kalgoum helped Lightning dominate & 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. 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, despite taking a three goal 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 with the winning goal on his debut. January 2013 brought further upheaval, when Nick Poole shocking the fans, announced his immediate retirement from playing. Former NHL Draft pick Janne Jokila replaced him. Lightning finished the season in 4th place & lost to league & cup champions Guildford Flames in the play off semi-finals, despite arguably playing the better hockey.

2013–2014: On The Road For Every Game[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 squad remained, but 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. 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. Immediately after the end of the season, it was announced that Lightning stalwart & fans favourite 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 was funded by Morrisons Supermarkets and & to 15 months to complete. This forced Lightning to play their home games at the Coventry Sky Dome during the 2013/2014 season & part of the 2014/2015 season. The team returned to the redeveloped rink which had been renamed MK Arena on the 18th October 2014 against Sheffield Steeldogs, in front of a sell out crowd in excess of 2,500.

Club roster[edit]

Netminders
No. Nat. Player Catches Date of birth Place of birth Acquired
1 England Jordan Hedley R (1996-08-07) 7 August 1996 (age 18) Walsall 2012
93 England Stephen Wall R (1981-02-12) 12 February 1981 (age 33) North Shields 2012
Defencemen
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 2013
7 Czech Republic Petr Horava L (1985-07-22) 22 July 1985 (age 29) Kladno, Czech Republic 2014
21 England Ross Green R (1992-02-19) 19 February 1992 (age 22) Chelmsford 2008
55 England Michael Farn L (1988-06-23) 23 June 1988 (age 26) Durham 2009
66 Scotland Lewis Christie R (1989-08-30) 30 August 1989 (age 25) Edinburgh 2008
Forwards
No. Nat. Player Shoots Date of birth Place of birth Acquired
8 Slovenia Blaz Emersic L (1980-10-10) 10 October 1980 (age 34) Ljubljana, Slovenia 2010
9 Scotland Grant McPherson - Alternate R (1987-03-03) 3 March 1987 (age 27) Stirling 2006
11 England Lewis Hook L (1996-08-18) 18 August 1996 (age 18) Peterborough 2014
14 Scotland Jordan Cownie L (1995-08-01) 1 August 1995 (age 19) Dundee 2013
17 Slovakia Stanislav Lascek L (1986-01-17) 17 January 1986 (age 28) Martin, Slovakia 2013
18 England Adam Carr - Captain R (1984-06-15) 15 June 1984 (age 30) Durham 2003
19 England Leigh Jamieson - Alternate R (1985-07-30) 30 July 1985 (age 29) Milton Keynes 2008
28 England Chris Wiggins R (1987-10-13) 13 October 1987 (age 27) Guildford 2014
61 England Ross Bowers R (1985-07-30) 30 July 1985 (age 29) Luton 2011
88 Czech Republic Milan Kostourek R (1983-01-09) 9 January 1983 (age 31) Czech Republic 2014
2 Way Players
Pos. Nat. Player Shoots Date of birth Place of birth Acquired
D England Ed Knaggs (2 way MK Thunder/Storm) L (1998-05-13) 13 May 1998 (age 16) Hemel Hempstead 2014
D England Nidal Phillips (2 way MK Thunder) R (1992-10-16) 16 October 1992 (age 22) Milton Keynes 2014
F England Connor Goode (2 way MK Thunder) R (1993-11-02) 2 November 1993 (age 21) Luton 2010
F England Alex Whyte (2 way MK Thunder) L (1996-07-23) 23 July 1996 (age 18) Peterborough 2014
F England Josh Nicklin (2 way MK Thunder) R (1992-02-27) 27 February 1992 (age 22) Bedford 2013
F England Jamie Line (2 way MK Thunder) R (1990-01-23) 23 January 1990 (age 24) Luton 2010

Top Ten Appearances (League, Cup & Play Offs) as at 17 November 2014[edit]

Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Appearances
1 England Adam Carr 2003–2014 inclusive 533
2 Canada Nick Poole 2002–2014 inclusive 505
3 England Ross Bowers 2002–2008, 2009–2010 & 2011–2014 430
4 Scotland Grant McPherson 2006–2014 inclusive 427
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 England Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2014 343
9 Czech Republic Lukas Zatopek 2008–2014 inclusive 332
10 Scotland Lewis Christie 2008–2014 inclusive 330

Top Ten Points Scorers (League, Cup & Play Offs) as at 17 November 2014[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 435
4 England Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2014 354
5 England Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 271
6 Slovenia Blaz Emersic 2010–2014 inclusive 265
7 England Greg Randall 2002–2006 & 2007–2009 260
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 17 November 2014[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 1064
4 England Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2014 755
5 Czech Republic Lukas Zatopek 2008–2014 inclusive 509
6 England Matt Towalski 2005–2012 inclusive 488
7 England Ross Bowers 2002–2008, 2009–2010 & 2011–2014 449
8 Canada Nick Poole 2002–2014 inclusive 446
9 Scotland Lewis Christie 2008–2014 inclusive 417
10 Canada Dwayne Newman 2002–2007 inclusive 374

Season-by-season record[edit]

Associated teams[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MK Kings live on in Solihull", Milton Keynes Citizen, May 2002
  2. ^ "Solihull MK Kings finally call it a day", Milton Keynes Citizen, April 2003]
  3. ^ "Phantoms Renew Lightning rivalry", Peterborough Telegraph, September 2007
  4. ^ "English Premier League final table", Milton Keynes Citizen, March 2007
  5. ^ "Lightning win proves to be all in vain", Milton Keynes Citizen, April 2007
  6. ^ "Lightning Set for New Term Face Off", Milton Keynes Citizen, September 2008
  7. ^ "Joakim jets in for Slough", Milton Keynes Citizen, January 2009
  8. ^ "Players are positive after great finish to the season, Milton Keynes Citizen, April 2009
  9. ^ "Lightning fall at the final hurdle, Milton Keynes Citizen, April 2009
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