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The Milton Keynes Lightning are a professional ice hockey team from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, playing in the EIHL, joining ahead of the 2017-18 season. The team was founded in 2002 after the Milton Keynes Kings were forced out and had to depart Milton Keynes for Solihull. Their home rink is the refurbished and renamed The MK Arena, known locally as the Thunderdome. It has a capacity of circa 2,500.

Milton Keynes Lightning
MKL Logo 2017.png
City Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
League Elite Ice Hockey League
Conference Patton Conference
Founded 2002
Home arena Planet Ice Arena Milton Keynes
Colors White, Black & Blue
              
Owner(s) Graham & Monica Moody
Head coach Canada Doug McKay
Captain TBA
Affiliates 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 5 (02/03, 03/04, 04/05, 05/06 & 16/17)

Contents

Club HistoryEdit

FoundationEdit

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 YearsEdit

The demise of the Ice Hockey Superleague 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 lower English Premier Ice Hockey League. The first Lightning squad was made up of local players and three Canadian imports, Nick Poole as Player Coach, Claude Dumas, and 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 StruggleEdit

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 SuccessEdit

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 EPIHL. Further squad strengthening helped Lightning dominate & a home win against Swindon Wildcats in March 2010 saw the EPIHL league trophy return to Milton Keynes.

2010–2015: Near Misses, Unexpected Changes & DisappointmentEdit

An inconsistent 2010/11 saw Lightning finish 5th in the league and lose the play off final to Guildford Flames. 2011/12 fared no better, with the team 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 and 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 and the first game back on home territory was played on 18 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 and 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.

2015–2017: Management Change & New PartnershipsEdit

At the end of the 2014/2015 season it was announced to the surprise of the fans and 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.[9] This partnership lasted just one season. The 2015/16 season also saw a change from the traditional white, black, and gold colours to a white, black, and blue combination which reflected the sponsorship of local company Smith Recycling. Despite a promising start, the season ended with MKL managing just a slight improvement on their previous years final position, finishing 5th. Lightning went on to qualify for the Play Off final, losing to Guildford Flames 6-2. At the end of the season it was also announced that from the start of the 2017-2018 season, Milton Keynes Lightning would play in the Elite Ice Hockey League. In November 2016, Nick Poole stepped down from the role of General Manager, citing that he wanted to pursue new challenges with his family outside of hockey. Lightning secured a 2nd place league finish in their final EPL season and on 18 March 2017 won their first EPL cup in a penalty shootout against Peterborough. In the playoff campaign, Lightning finished 2nd in their group, winning 5 out of 6 games to qualify for the finals weekend. Lightning would then go on to win their 5th playoff title, beating Guildford 8-3 in the semi-final and then defeating Telford in the final 7-2.

2017-2018: Elite League Hockey & Ownership ChangeEdit

Following the announcement in May 2015, Milton Keynes Lightning formally joined the Elite League for the 2017-2018 season. With this also came a change in ownership. Planet Ice, the Milton Keynes rink operators who had run the franchise since its temporary use of the Coventry Sky Dome during the 2013/2014 season sold the club to the Midlands based husband & wife team of Graham & Monica Moody. Lightning's inaugural season in the Elite League had a promising start but poor away form and a series of disappointing results, caused in the main by injuries to key players and poor discipline within the team, left them languishing near the bottom of the table at the turn of the new year. The situation worsened in January when US Import Matt Nickerson had his contract terminated after an altercation with a Guildford Flames fan when leaving the ice. In February 2018 it was announced that Coach Peter Russell would be leaving the club by mutual consent at the end of the season & replaced by Canadian Doug McKay. The team finished 11th in the league and outside of the play off places.

Logo HistoryEdit

Arena RedevelopmentEdit

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 HonoursEdit

Winner (3): 2004, 2005, 2010
Runner-up (3): 2003, 2009, 2017
Winner (5): 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2017
Runner-up (3): 2009, 2011, 2016
Winner (1): 2017
Runner-up (4): 2003, 2007, 2010, 2014

Club Roster 2018-2019Edit

Netminders
No. Nat. Player Catches Date of birth Place of birth Acquired
1   Patrick Killeen L (1990-04-15) 15 April 1990 (age 28) Almonte, Ontario, Canada 2018 from Ritten Sport (Italy)
84   Adam Goss R (1995-02-10) 10 February 1995 (age 23) Derby, England 2018 from Mercyhurst Lakers (USA)
Defencemen
No. Nat. Player Shoots Date of birth Place of birth Acquired
4   Ryan Lannon L (1982-12-24) 24 December 1982 (age 35) Grafton, Massachusetts, USA 2018 from Atlanta Gladiators (USA)
5   Clay Anderson R (1994-03-07) 7 March 1994 (age 24) Omaha, New England, USA 2018 from Aalborg Pirates (Denmark)
10   Martin Mazanec R (1989-08-05) 5 August 1989 (age 29) Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic 2018 from MsHK Zilina (Slovakia)
12   Nelson Armstrong R (1993-12-09) 9 December 1993 (age 24) Peterborough, Ontario, Canada 2018 from Florida Everblades (USA)
15   James Griffin R (1993-04-08) 8 April 1993 (age 25) Swindon, Wiltshire, England 2015 from Coventry Blaze
Forwards
No. Nat. Player Shoots Date of birth Place of birth Acquired
11   Trevor Morbeck R (1993-11-21) 21 November 1993 (age 24) Jackson, Washington County, Wisconsin, USA 2018 from Guelph Gryphons (Canada)
14   Andreas Valdix L (1984-12-06) 6 December 1984 (age 33) Malmö, Sweden 2018 from Sheffield Steelers
19   Georgs Golovkovs L (1995-07-12) 12 July 1995 (age 23) Riga, Latvia 2018 from Liepaja (Latvia)
21   David Norris L (1993-03-03) 3 March 1993 (age 25) Calgary, Alberta, Canada 2018 from Arizona State Sun Devils (USA)
27   Cole Shudra L (1998-08-11) 11 August 1998 (age 20) Rotherham, England 2018 from Sheffield Steelers (On loan for season 2018/19)
28   Tim Wallace R (1984-08-06) 6 August 1984 (age 34) Anchorage, Alaska, USA 2018 from Sheffield Steelers
29   Michael Fine L (1991-05-10) 10 May 1991 (age 27) North York, Ontario, Canada 2018 from Esbjerg Energy (Denmark)
33   Joonas Huovinen R (1994-03-23) 23 March 1994 (age 24) Oulu, Finland 2018 from GKS Tychy (Poland)
59   Eric Neiley R (1992-01-30) 30 January 1992 (age 26) Warminster, Pennsylvania, USA 2018 from Sheffield Steelers
77   Owen Griffiths L (1996-07-15) 15 July 1996 (age 22) Cardiff, Wales 2018 from Peterborough Phantoms
81   Radek Meidl L (1988-11-25) 25 November 1988 (age 29) Prostějov, Czech Republic 2018 from Orlik Opole (Poland)
2 Way Players/Loan Players
No. Nat. Player Two Way/Loan Club Shoots/Catches Date of birth Place of birth Acquired
7   Rio Grinnell-Parke Milton Keynes Thunder L (1999-02-25) 25 February 1999 (age 19) London, England 2018 from Milton Keynes Thunder
78   Rihards Grigors Unattached L (1992-01-20) 20 January 1992 (age 26) Dobele, Latvia 2018 from Unattached

Statistical RecordsEdit

Top Ten AppearancesEdit

League, Cup & Play Offs; as of 17 September 2018
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Appearances
1   Adam Carr 2003–2017 inclusive 687
2   Grant McPherson 2006–2016 inclusive 513
3   Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 506
4   Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2017 503
5   Lewis Christie 2008–2017 inclusive 485
6   Ross Bowers 2002–2008, 2009–2010 & 2011–2015 467
7   Michael Farn 2009–2017 inclusive 437
8   Ross Green 2008–2016 inclusive 390
9   Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 385
10   Blaz Emersic 2010–2017 inclusive 382

Top Ten Points ScorersEdit

League, Cup & Play Offs; as of 17 September 2018
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Points
1   Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010–2011 767
2   Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 728
3   Adam Carr 2003–2017 inclusive 524
4   Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2017 456
5   Blaz Emersic 2010–2017 inclusive 398
6   Greg Randall 2002–2006 & 2007–2009 260
7   Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 259
8   Mikko Skinnari 2002–2008 inclusive 246
9   Andre Smulter 2008–2011 inclusive 229
10   Lewis Hook 2014–2018 inclusive 222

Top ten goal scorersEdit

League, Cup & Play Offs; as of 17 September 2018
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Goals
1   Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010–2011 436
2   Adam Carr 2003–2017 inclusive 248
3   Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 211
4   Blaz Emersic 2010–2017 inclusive 171
5   Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2017 163
6   Andre Smulter 2008–2011 inclusive 111
7   Lewis Hook 2014–2018 inclusive 106
8   Ross Bowers 2002–2008, 2009–2010 & 2011–2015 101
9   Greg Randall 2002–2006 & 2007–2009 98
10   Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 96

Top Ten Goal AssistsEdit

League, Cup & Play Offs; as of 17 September 2018
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Assists
1   Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 517
2   Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010–2011 331
3   Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2017 293
4   Adam Carr 2003–2017 inclusive 276
5   Blaz Emersic 2010–2017 inclusive 227
6   Michael Farn 2009–2017 inclusive 177
7   Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 163
8   Greg Randall 2002–2006 & 2007–2009 162
9   Mikko Skinnari 2002–2008 inclusive 155
10   Jordan Cownie 2013-2017 inclusive 142

Top Ten Penalty MinutesEdit

League, Cup & Play Offs; as of 17 September 2018
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Minutes
1   Grant McPherson 2006–2016 inclusive 1236
2   Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 1131
3   Kurt Irvine 2003–2008 inclusive 1109
4   Leigh Jamieson 2002–2004 & 2009–2017 955
5   Lewis Christie 2008–2017 inclusive 596
6   Lukas Zatopek 2008–2014 inclusive 509
7   Ross Bowers 2002–2008, 2009–2010 & 2011–2015 479
8   Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 452
9   Matt Towalski 2005–2012 inclusive 446
10   Michael Farn 2009–2017 inclusive 420

Top Ten Points to Game RatioEdit

League, Cup & Play Offs; as of 17 September 2018 (Players with under 20 appearances not included)
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Points/Games Ratio
1   Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010-2011 2.03
2   Joakim Wiklander 2008–2010 inclusive 2.00
3   Greg Owen 2002–2003 1.74
4   Stefan Ketola 2005–2006 1.71
5   Monir Kalgoum 2009–2011 inclusive 1.67
6   Andre Smulter 2008–2011 inclusive 1.58
7   Tony Alasaarela 2007–2008 1.50
8   Antti Holli 2016–2017 1.45
8   Steve Moria 2005–2006 1.45
8   Stanislav Lascek 2013–2015 inclusive 1.45

Top Ten Goals to Game RatioEdit

League, Cup & Play Offs; as of 17 September 2018 (Players with under 20 appearances not included)
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Goals/Games Ratio
1   Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010-2011 1.16
2   Greg Owen 2002–2003 1.10
3   Stefan Ketola 2005–2006 0.86
4   Andre Smulter 2008–2011 inclusive 0.77
4   Stanislav Lascek 2013–2015 inclusive 0.77
6   Milan Kostourek 2014–2015 0.75
7   Kamil Tvrdek 2012–2013 0.65
8   Franisek Bakrlik 2015–2017 inclusive 0.64
9   Monir Kalgoum 2009-2011 inclusive 0.61
10   Steve Moria 2005-2006 0.60

Top Ten Assists to Game RatioEdit

League, Cup & Play Offs; as of 17 September 2018 (Players with under 20 appearances not included)
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Assists/Games Ratio
1   Joakim Wiklander 2008–2010 inclusive 1.59
2   Monir Kalgoum 2009–2011 inclusive 1.06
3   Nick Poole 2002–2015 inclusive 1.02
4   Tony Alasaarela 2007–2008 0.98
4   Antti Holli 2016–2017 0.98
6   Markku Tathinen 2015-2016 0.91
7   Francis Verreault-Paul 2017-2018 0.89
7   Ales Perez 2007–2009 inclusive 0.89
9   Gary Clarke 2002–2009 & 2010-2011 0.88
10   Stefan Ketola 2005–2006 0.86

Top Ten Penalty Minutes to Games RatioEdit

League, Cup & Play Offs; as of 17 September 2018 (Players with under 20 appearances not included)
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons PIM/Games Ratio
1   Kurt Irvine 2003-2008 inclusive 5.38
2   Matt Nickerson 2017-2018 4.77
3   James Morgan 2006–2007 4.30
4   Steve Carpenter 2004–2005 4.06
5   Frankisek Bakrlik 2015–2017 inclusive 3.63
6   Daniel Croft 2007–2008 3.59
7   Francis Verreault-Paul 2017-2018 3.23
8   Michael Wales 2003–2012 inclusive 2.94
9   Michael Knights 2002–2003, 2004-2005 & 2006-2007 2.73
10   Tommy Mele 2017-2018 2.71

Top Ten Save PercentagesEdit

League, Cup & Play Offs; as of 17 September 2018 (Players with under 20 appearances not included)
Player
No. Nat. Player Active Seasons Save Percentage
1   Prezemyslaw Odrobny 2016-2017 92.35
2   Alex Mettam 2009–2013 inclusive 91.65
3   Jordan Marr 2015-2016 91.47
4   Barry Hollyhead 2002–2004 & 2006-2012 91.27
5   Stephen Wall 2012-2015 inclusive 91.13
6   Dean Skinns 2015-2016 91.04
7   Allen Sutton 2002–2008 inclusive 90.97
8     Miika Wiikman 2017-2018 90.22
9   Lee Lansdowne 2005-2006 90.20
10   Jordan Hedley 2012–2015 & 2016-2018 87.38

NHL Drafted Milton Keynes Lightning PlayersEdit

Player
Nat. Player. Active Seasons Year Drafted Round & Draft Pick Team
  Claude Dumas 2002-2003 1985 Round 5 Draft Pick 103 Washington Capitals
  Janne Jokila 2012-2014 inclusive 2000 Round 7 Draft Pick 200 Columbus Blue Jackets
  Martti Jarventie 2015-2016 2001 Round 4 Draft Pick 109 Montreal Canadiens
  Ryan Lannon 2018-Present 2002 Round 8 Draft Pick 239 Pittsburgh Penguins
  Matt Nickerson 2017-2018 2003 Round 3 Draft Pick 99 Dallas Stars
  Andreas Valdix 2018-Present 2003 Round 4 Draft Pick 109 Washington Capitals
  Jurej Gracik 2011-2012 2004 Round 5 Draft Pick 142 Atlanta Thrashers
  Stanislav Lascek 2013-2015 inclusive 2005 Round 5 Draft Pick 133 Tampa Bay Lightning
  Patrick Killeen 2018-Present 2008 Round 6 Draft Pick 180 Pittsburgh Penguins
  Paul Phillips 2017–2018 2009 Round 7 Draft Pick 195 Chicago Blackhawks
  Christian Isackson 2017–2018 2010 Round 7 Draft Pick 203 Buffalo Sabres

Retired NumbersEdit

Player
Number Nat. Player Active Seasons Acquired
91   Nick Poole 2002-2015 inclusive 2002 from Fife Flyers
18   Adam Carr 2003-2017 inclusive 2003 from Isle of Wight Raiders
9   Grant McPherson 2006-2017 inclusive 2006 from Edinburgh Capitals

Head CoachesEdit

Coach
Nat. Coach Active Seasons Acquired
  Nick Poole 2002-2015 inclusive (Player-Head Coach 2002-2013, Head Coach 2013-2015) n/a First Head Coach Position
  Peter Russell 2015-2018 inclusive 2015 from Okanagan Hockey Academy
  Doug McKay 2018- 2018 from Orlik Opole (Poland)

Club CaptainsEdit

Captain
Nat. Captain Active Seasons as Captain Acquired
  Dwayne Newman 2002-2007 (Career with club 2002-2007 inclusive) 2002 from Solihull MK Kings
  Gary Clarke 2007-2009 (Career with club 2002-2009 & 2010-2011) 2002 from Basingstoke Bison & 2010 Guildford Flames
  Adam Carr 2009-2017 (Career with club 2003-2017 inclusive) 2003 from Isle of Wight Raiders
  Kevin King 2017-2018 (Career with club 2017-2018) 2017 from Rapaces de Gap

Season-by-Season RecordEdit

Associated teamsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  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 linksEdit

Preceded by
Guildford Flames
EPIHL Playoff Champions
2016–2017
Succeeded by
n/a
Preceded by
Peterborough Phantoms
EPIHL Champions
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Manchester Phoenix
Preceded by
Guildford Flames
EPIHL Cup Winners
2016–2017
Succeeded by
n/a