2014/15

A delay to the completion of the refurbished MK Arena, meant that the Lightning had to play the first couple of games of the new 2014-15 season in Coventry. On 18th October 2014, Lightning would come home to Milton Keynes with the first game being a sell-out against Sheffield Steeldogs. Lascek would score the first ever goal at the new arena, but it would be Sheffield that would ruin the homecoming winning 2-1 after overtime. Lightning would struggle for consistency, resulting in player turnover (Lascek leaving and his replacement, Marek Curilla also being replaced by Canadian, Curtis Huppe) and would eventually finish the season in seventh place. They would shock second placed Guildford in the quarter finals of the play-offs but the season would end in disappointment, losing to Manchester in the semi-finals in Coventry. The end of season awards would also see the announcement that GM, Vito Rausa, would be leaving and Nick Poole would no longer be the coach.

2002/03

Milton Keynes Lightning were formed in the summer of 2002 replacing the MK Kings as the senior ice hockey side in Milton Keynes after a dispute between the Kings ownership and rink operators, Planet Ice – the Kings relocating to Solihull.

The Lightning took to the ice in the EPIHL with their first competitive game being a 7-7 tie with Romford Raiders, the game-tying goal coming from player-coach, Nick Poole, in the last minute of the game. The first ever MK Lightning goal is credited to Greg Randall. Their inaugural season saw the Lightning, with a mix of local British players along with Canadians Poole, Dwayne Newman and Claude Dumas plus Finnish forward Mikko Skinnari, finish second in the league. MK would miss out on both the league and cup to rivals Peterborough Phantoms; however, they would finish their debut season with silverware defeating the Phantoms 16-4 on aggregate in the play-off final.

MKL made the most of their Olympic sized ice pad in their first season, playing a system with fast wingers led by British forward Gary Clarke. This tactic did see the Lightning struggle on smaller ice pads at rinks such as Romford, Peterborough and the Isle of Wight with not being able to compete with the physical play in smaller rinks. This was addressed ahead of their second season with the signings of Michael “Muzzy” Wales from Invicta Dynamos and Kurt Irvine from Coventry Blaze. This added toughness to the team. A young forward from Durham signed from the Isle of Wight as well, with Adam Carr joining the Lightning attack from the Raiders.

Fans memories:

Not got any pictures but the play off final against Peterbourgh always remember with great fondness. Witness a 10-0 first leg win which is unheard off. Then winning the 2nd leg as well but the best part was the players past up the trophy on the double decker coach and the fans got to hold the trophy and drink a bit of bubbly out off it. Good times. – Chris Kelly

Here is the roster for that inaugural season from Mike Walls:

#1 Allen Sutton (NM)
#31 Barry Hollyhead (NM)

#3 Chris McEwen (D)
#4 Michael Knights (D)
#5 Leigh Jamieson (D)
#7 Phil Wooderson (F)
#9 Greg Owen (F)
#11 Mark Krater (F)
#14 Gary Clarke (F)
#16 Claude Dumas (F)
#17 Dean Campbell (F)
#18 Kieron Goody (F)
#20 Geoff O’Hara (D)
#22 Dwayne Newman (D) – Captain
#24 Mark Conway (F)
#27 Mikko Skinnari (F)
#28 Mark Hazlehurst (D/F)
#50 Greg Randall (F)
#55 Simon Howard (D) – Assistant Coach
#91 Nick Poole – Player-coach

Will never forget that first game. What an atmosphere – Chris Dickens

And that was my first ever match…. hooked from the get go…. cracking match v Romford totally exhilarating – DJ Bertie

2011/12

For MKL’s 10th anniversary season, expectations were high – despite both Kalgoum and Smulter leaving the Lightning. Nick Poole would return to player-coaching and he, Emersic and Zatopek were joined by Atlanta Thrashers draft pick, Juraj Gracik. Despite scoring over a point a game, the Slovakian never settled to life in Milton Keynes and left mid-way through the season eventually being replaced by Tuomas Tikkanen. Lightning would make the semi-final of the cup, losing to Ben Bowns and the Sheffield Steeldogs and finish 5th in the league. In the play-offs, MK lost in overtime in their quarter final against eventual winners, Slough Jets.

Team Roster:

#28 Alex Mettam (NM)
#31 Barry Hollyhead (NM)

#2 Tom Norton (D)
#5 Jamie Line (F)
#6 Michael Wales (F)
#8 Blaz Emersic (F)
#9 Grant McPherson (F)
#12 Connor Goode (F)
#14 Tuomas Tikkanen (F)
#18 Adam Carr (F) – Captain
#19 Leigh Jamieson (D) Alt Captain
#21 Ross Green (D)
#25 Juraj Gracik (F)
#26 Adam Brittle (F)
#41 Matt Towalski (F) – Alt Captain
#55 Michael Farn (D)
#61 Ross Bowers (F)
#66 Lewis Christie (D)
#78 Lukas Zatopek (D)
#91 Nick Poole (F) – player-coach

Fans Memoires:

Sarah Axtell Royal shared some things with us:

I don’t have many photos from 2011/12 season – pre DSLR camera! But here are a few from the play-offs 2012 – Pirates!

Wish I had one as big as that!

Coventry weekend wasn’t complete without a bit of Al Parez stalking!