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 & Blue
              
General manager Canada Nick Poole
Head coach ScotlandPeter 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 league Basingstoke 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 Peter Russell. This was shortly followed by the announcement in May 2015 that Milton Keynes Lightning would be forming a partnership with Elite League side the Coventry Blaze, with the aim to develop & implement a pathway providing opportunities for players to develop to Elite League & National Team level.[9] The 2015-16 season also saw a change from the traditional White, Black & Gold colours to a White, Black & Blue combination which reflected the sponsorship of local company Smith Recycling.

Logo history[edit]

Arena Redevelopment[edit]

In March 2013, Milton Keynes Council approved plans to redevelop the Leisure Plaza 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 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
29 England James Hadfield L (1992-10-04) 4 October 1992 (age 22) Sheffield 2015 from Guildford Flames
33 Scotland Jordan Marr L (1991-06-10) 10 June 1991 (age 24) Lochgelly 2015 from Finlandia Lions (USA)
45 England Dean Skinns L (1984-10-03) 3 October 1984 (age 30) Basingstoke 2015 from Basingstoke Bison
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 30) Milton Keynes 2009 from Coventry Blaze
21 England Ross Green R (1992-02-19) 19 February 1992 (age 23) Chelmsford 2008 from Milton Keynes Storm
55 England Michael Farn L (1988-06-23) 23 June 1988 (age 27) Durham 2009 from Swindon Wildcats
66 Scotland Lewis Christie R (1989-08-30) 30 August 1989 (age 26) Edinburgh 2008 from Belfast Giants
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 from Slough Jets
9 Scotland Grant McPherson - Alternate R (1987-03-03) 3 March 1987 (age 28) Stirling 2006 from Edinburgh Capitals
10 England Bobby Chamberlain R (1995-03-16) 16 March 1995 (age 20) Hull 2015 from Manchester Phoenix
11 England Lewis Hook L (1996-08-18) 18 August 1996 (age 19) Peterborough 2014 from Peterborough Phantoms
18 England Adam Carr - Captain R (1984-06-15) 15 June 1984 (age 31) Durham 2003 from Isle of Wight Raiders
35 Slovakia Rene Jarolin L (1981-09-16) 16 September 1981 (age 33) Skalica, Slovakia 2015 from Edinburgh Capitals
39 Finland Markku Tahtinen L (1978-04-10) 10 April 1978 (age 37) Pori, Finland 2015 from Cardiff Devils
71 Finland Marko Luomala L (1980-06-02) 2 June 1980 (age 35) Vaasa, Finland 2015 from HC Gherdeina (Italy)
72 England Glen Billing L (1997-05-28) 28 May 1997 (age 18) Romford 2015 from Okanagan Hockey Academy
93 England Jack Watkins R (1993-02-03) 3 February 1993 (age 22) Durham 2015 from Manchester Phoenix
94 Canada United Kingdom Josh Cook L (1994-10-25) 25 October 1994 (age 20) Kelowna, Canada 2015 from Springfield Express (USA)
2 Way Players
No. Nat. Player Shoots Date of birth Place of birth Acquired
5 England Edward Knaggs (2 way MK Thunder) L (1998-05-13) 13 May 1998 (age 17) Hemel Hempstead 2014 from Milton Keynes Thunder
14 England Luc Johnson (2 way MK Thunder) L (1997-07-21) 21 July 1997 (age 18) Blackburn 2015 from Okanagan Hockey Academy
15 England James Griffin (2 way Coventry Blaze) R (1993-04-08) 8 April 1993 (age 22) Swindon 2015 from Coventry Blaze
58 England David Clements (2 way Coventry Blaze) R (1994-09-20) 20 September 1994 (age 20) Coventry 2015 from Ogden Mustangs (USA)

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 571
2 Canada Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 506
3 England Ross Bowers 2002–2008, 2009–2010 & 2011–2015 467
4 Scotland Grant McPherson 2006–2015 inclusive 460
5 England Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 385
6 England Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2015 380
7 England Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010–2011 377
8 Scotland Lewis Christie 2008–2015 inclusive 366
9 England Matt Towalski 2005–2012 inclusive 353
10 England Ross Green 2008–2015 inclusive 338

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 463
4 England Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2015 378
5 Slovenia Blaz Emersic 2010–2015 inclusive 308
6 England Greg Randall 2002–2006 & 2007–2009 260
7 England Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 259
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 goal scorers[edit]

League, Cup & Play Offs; as at end of 2014/15 season
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Goals
1 England Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010–2011 436
2 England Adam Carr 2003–2015 inclusive 222
3 Canada Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 211
4 England Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2015 144
5 Slovenia Blaz Emersic 2010–2015 inclusive 126
6 Finland Andre Smulter 2008–2011 inclusive 111
7 England Ross Bowers 2002–2008, 2009–2010 & 2011–2015 101
8 England Greg Randall 2002–2006 & 2007–2009 98
9 England Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 96
10 Finland Mikko Skinnari 2002–2008 inclusive 91

Top ten goal assists[edit]

League, Cup & Play Offs; as at end of 2014/15 season
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Assists
1 Canada Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 517
2 England Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010–2011 331
3 England Adam Carr 2003–2015 inclusive 241
4 England Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2015 237
5 Slovenia Blaz Emersic 2010–2015 inclusive 180
6 England Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 163
7 England Greg Randall 2002–2006 & 2007–2009 162
8 Finland Mikko Skinnari 2002–2008 inclusive 155
9 Czech Republic Lukas Zatopek 2008–2014 inclusive 140
10 England Michael Farn 2009–2015 inclusive 123

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 1196
2 England Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 1131
3 England Kurt Irvine 2003–2008 inclusive 1109
4 England Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2015 804
5 Czech Republic Lukas Zatopek 2008–2014 inclusive 509
6 England Ross Bowers 2002–2008, 2009–2010 & 2011–2015 479
7 Scotland Lewis Christie 2008–2015 inclusive 474
8 Canada Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 452
9 England Matt Towalski 2005–2012 inclusive 446
10 Canada Dwayne Newman 2002–2007 inclusive 374

Top ten points to game 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
8 Slovakia Stanislav Lascek 2013–2015 inclusive 1.45
10 Canada Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 1.44

Top ten goals to game 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 Goals/Games Ratio
1 England Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010-2011 1.16
2 England Greg Owen 2002–2003 1.10
3 Sweden Stefan Ketola 2005–2006 0.86
4 Slovakia Stanislav Lascek 2013–2015 inclusive 0.77
4 Finland Andre Smulter 2008–2011 inclusive 0.77
6 Czech Republic Milan Kostourek 2014–2015 0.75
7 Czech Republic Kamil Tvrdek 2012–2013 inclusive 0.65
8 Sweden Monir Kalgoum 2009–2011 inclusive 0.61
9 Canada Steve Moria 2005–2006 0.60
10 England Lewis Hook 2014–2015 0.55

Top ten assists to game 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 Assists/Games Ratio
1 Sweden Joakim Wiklander 2008–2010 inclusive 1.59
2 Sweden Monir Kalgoum 2009–2011 inclusive 1.06
3 Canada Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 1.02
4 Finland Tony Alasaarela 2007–2008 0.98
5 Czech Republic Ales Perez 2007–2009 inclusive 0.89
6 England Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010-2011 0.88
7 Sweden Stefan Ketola 2005–2006 0.86
8 Canada Steve Moria 2005–2006 0.85
9 Finland Andre Smulter 2008–2011 inclusive 0.81
10 Canada Steve Carpenter 2004-2005 0.79

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 2.62
8 Scotland Grant McPherson 2006–2015 inclusive 2.60
9 Wales Nicky Chinn 2012–2013 2.48
10 England Shane Moore 2006–2007 2.33

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 91.27
4 England Stephen Wall 2012-2015 inclusive 91.13
5 England David Wride 2007–2008 91.10
6 England Allen Sutton 2002–2008 inclusive 90.97
7 England Jordan Hedley 2012–2015 inclusive 90.26
8 England Lee Lansdowne 2005-2006 90.20
9 England Matthew van der Velden 2004–2005 89.30
10 England Daniel Shea 2006–2007 87.60

NHL Drafted Milton Keynes Lightning Players[edit]

Player
Nat. Player. Active Seasons Year Drafted Round & Draft Pick Team
Canada Claude Dumas 2002-2003 1985 Round 5 Draft Pick 103 Washington Capitals
Finland Janne Jokila 2012-2014 inclusive 2000 Round 7 Draft Pick 200 Columbus Blue Jackets
Slovakia Jurej Gracik 2011-2012 2004 Round 5 Draft Pick 142 Atlanta Thrashers
Slovakia Stanislav Lascek 2013-2015 inclusive 2005 Round 5 Draft Pick 133 Tampa Bay Lightning

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