Milton Keynes Lightning

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Milton Keynes Lightning
MKL Logo.png
City Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
League EIHPL
Founded 2002
Home arena The MK Arena
Colors White, Black & Gold
              
General manager Canada Nick Poole
Head coach ScotlandPete Russell
Captain England Adam Carr
Affiliates Coventry Blaze
Milton Keynes Thunder
Milton Keynes Storm
Website mk-lightning.com
Franchise history
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 rink is the refurbished & 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 operators 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: The 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 UK. 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 for the first time. A lack of new players, predictable tactics & an improved 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 roster overhaul for the new season.[6]

2008–2010: A Return to Success[edit]

The Lightning squad for 2008/09 included several experienced ex-Elite League players, young British talent & new European imports. After a slow start the team dominated the second half of the season & finished runners-up behind Peterborough.[7] They then met again in the playoff final with the Phantoms winning the encounter.[8] Lightning became the team to beat in 2009/10, despite Elite leagueBasingstoke Bison & Manchester Phoenix joining the EPL. Further squad strengthening helped Lightning dominate & a home win against Swindon Wildcats in March 2010 saw the EPL league trophy return to Milton Keynes.

2010–2015: Near Misses, Unexpected Changes & Disappointment[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. The 2012/13 season brought upheaval when in January 2013 Nick Poole unexpectedly announced his immediate retirement from playing. Lightning finished in 4th place & lost to Guildford Flames in the play off semi-finals, despite arguably playing the better hockey. The disruption continued in 2013/14 as home games were played in Coventry due to the renovation of the Milton Keynes rink. Due to a lack of practice ice time, the team struggled for consistency but finished in a credible 4th place. They were also the runners up to Basingstoke Bison in the cup. The 2014/15 season started with Lightning continuing to play out of Coventry. Indifferent early form left the team languishing near the bottom of the league. The refurbishment of the Milton Keynes rink was completed a month into the season & the first game was played on the 18th October 2014 against Sheffield Steeldogs in front of a capacity crowd of 2,500. Despite the return to home ice, Lightning continued to perform poorly. The loss of key players through roster changes & a series of injuries increased pressure on an already struggling team saw Lightning finish the season in 7th place, their lowest ever position. Despite poor league performances, Lightning defeated Guildford in the playoff quarter finals before losing to Manchester Phoenix in the semi final game.

2015–2016: Management Change & Coventry Blaze Partnership[edit]

At the end of the 2014/2015 season it was announced to the surprise of the fans & players that Head Coach Nick Poole would take over the duties of General Manager from Vito Rausa and be replaced by Team GB Coach Pete Russell. This was shortly followed by the announcement in May 2015 that Milton Keynes Lightning would be forming a development partnership with Elite League side the Coventry Blaze. The aim of the partnership was to develop & implement a pathway providing talented up-and-coming British players opportunities to develop into potential Elite League & National Team players. The partnership had been developed due to the close working relationship between Planet Ice, MK Lightning/Team GB Head Coach, Pete Russell & Blaze Director of Hockey James Pease. Russell & Pease both being involved with the GB Programme. [9]

Logo history[edit]

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 took 17 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 to the "MK Arena" on 18 October 2014 against Sheffield Steeldogs, in front of a sell out crowd in excess of 2,500.

Club honours[edit]

Winner (3): 2004, 2005, 2010
Runner-up (2): 2003, 2009
Winner (4): 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
Runner-up (2): 2009, 2011
Runner-up (4): 2003, 2007, 2010, 2014

Club Roster[edit]

Netminders
No. Nat. Player Catches Date of birth Place of birth Acquired
TBA England James Hadfield L (1992-10-04) 4 October 1992 (age 22) Sheffield 2015
Defencemen
No. Nat. Player Shoots Date of birth Place of birth Acquired
19 England Leigh Jamieson - Alternate R (1985-07-30) 30 July 1985 (age 29) Milton Keynes 2008
21 England Ross Green R (1992-02-19) 19 February 1992 (age 23) 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 28) Stirling 2006
11 England Lewis Hook L (1996-08-18) 18 August 1996 (age 18) Peterborough 2014
18 England Adam Carr - Captain R (1984-06-15) 15 June 1984 (age 30) Durham 2003
TBC England Bobby Chamberlain R (1995-03-16) 16 March 1995 (age 20) Hull 2015
TBC Slovakia Rene Jarolin L (1981-09-16) 16 September 1981 (age 33) Skalica, Slovakia 2015
TBC Finland Marko Luomala L (1980-06-02) 2 June 1980 (age 34) Vaasa, Finland 2015
TBC Canada United Kingdom Josh Cook L (1994-10-25) 25 October 1994 (age 20) Kelowna, Canada 2015
2 Way Players
Pos. Nat. Player Shoots Date of birth Place of birth Acquired
D England James Griffin (2 way Coventry Blaze) R (1993-04-08) 8 April 1993 (age 22) Swindon 2015
D England David Clements (2 way Coventry Blaze) R (1994-09-20) 20 September 1994 (age 20) Coventry 2015

Statistical Records[edit]

Top ten appearances[edit]

League, Cup & Play Offs; as at end of 2014/15 season
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Appearances
1 England Adam Carr 2003–2015 inclusive 569
2 Canada Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 506
3 England Ross Bowers 2002–2008, 2009–2010 & 2011–2015 464
4 Scotland Grant McPherson 2006–2015 inclusive 458
5 England Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 385
6 England Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2015 378
7 England Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010–2011 377
8 Scotland Lewis Christie 2008–2015 inclusive 365
9 England Matt Towalski 2005–2012 inclusive 361
10 England Ross Green 2008–2015 inclusive 337

Top ten points scorers[edit]

League, Cup & Play Offs; as at end of 2014/15 season
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Points
1 England Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010–2011 766
2 Canada Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 728
3 England Adam Carr 2003–2015 inclusive 459
4 England Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2015 378
5 Slovenia Blaz Emersic 2010–2015 inclusive 308
6 England Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 271
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[edit]

League, Cup & Play Offs; as at end of 2014/15 season
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Minutes
1 Scotland Grant McPherson 2006–2015 inclusive 1133
2 England Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 1131
3 England Kurt Irvine 2003–2008 inclusive 1109
4 England Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2015 798
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 & 2011–2015 459
8 Scotland Lewis Christie 2008–2015 inclusive 455
9 Canada Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 452
10 Canada Dwayne Newman 2002–2007 inclusive 374

Top ten points to games ratio[edit]

League, Cup & Play Offs; as at end of 2014/15 season (Players with under 20 appearances not included)
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Points/Games Ratio
1 England Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010-2011 2.03
2 Sweden Joakim Wiklander 2008–2010 inclusive 2.00
3 England Greg Owen 2002–2003 1.74
4 Sweden Stefan Ketola 2005–2006 1.71
5 Sweden Monir Kalgoum 2009–2011 inclusive 1.67
6 Finland Andre Smulter 2008–2011 inclusive 1.58
7 Finland Tony Alasaarela 2007–2008 1.50
8 Canada Steve Moria 2005–2006 1.45
9 Canada Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 1.44
10 Slovakia Stanislav Lascek 2013–2015 inclusive 1.42

Top ten penalty minutes to games ratio[edit]

League, Cup & Play Offs; as at end of 2014/15 season (Players with under 20 appearances not included)
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons PIM/Games Ratio
1 England Kurt Irvine 2003-2008 inclusive 5.38
2 England James Morgan 2006–2007 4.30
3 Canada Steve Carpenter 2004–2005 4.06
4 England Daniel Croft 2007–2008 3.59
5 England Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 2.94
6 England Michael Knights 2002–2003, 2004-2005 & 2006-2007 2.73
7 England Chris Wiggins 2012–2013 & 2014-2015 2.60
8 Wales Nicky Chinn 2012–2013 2.48
9 Scotland Grant McPherson 2006–2015 inclusive 2.47
10 Czech Republic Milan Kostourek 2014–2015 2.38

Top ten save percentages[edit]

League, Cup & Play Offs; as at end of 2014/15 season (Players with under 5 appearances not included)
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Save Percentage
1 England Mark Woolf 2004-2005 93.68
2 England Alex Mettam 2009–2013 inclusive 91.65
3 England Barry Hollyhead 2002–2004 & 2006-2012 91.26
4 England David Wride 2007–2008 91.10
5 England Allen Sutton 2002–2008 inclusive 90.97
6 England Stephen Wall 2012-2015 inclusive 90.92
7 England Lee Lansdowne 2005-2006 90.20
8 England Jordan Hedley 2012–2015 inclusive 89.83
9 England Matthew van der Velden 2004–2005 89.30
10 England Daniel Shea 2006–2007 87.60

Season-by-season record[edit]

Associated teams[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. ^ "Players are positive after great finish to the season, Milton Keynes Citizen, April 2009
  8. ^ "Lightning fall at the final hurdle, Milton Keynes Citizen, April 2009
  9. ^ Tracey Richardson (2015-05-01). "MKL & Blaze announce development partnership". Milton Keynes Lightning. Retrieved 2015-05-01. 

External links[edit]

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