Lewis Clifford has left his position as AIB MK Lightning Head Coach and General Manager after 3 years in this role. Following the completion of the season, the club completed an organisational review and has decided that in the best interests of the club the Coaching and General Manager roles need to be restructured for the upcoming 2022/23 Season.
Cliff has a long history with MK Hockey, with a playing career of over 230 games between 2002 and 2011. His coaching career began in 2009/10 as player-coach of MK Thunder, before becoming MK Lightning Assistant Coach alongside Nick Poole in 2011/12 and then Pete Russell. He became MK Thunder Head Coach in 2017, before joining MK Lightning as Head Coach in 2019 on the club’s move to the NIHL National division. Cliff was also the Head Coach of the MK Storm junior club for a number of years before stepping down from that in early 2022.
Speaking about Lewis’ departure, the club said: “This has been a difficult decision given our close personal relationship with Cliff which has developed over the last 3 years. He works hard and we have the utmost respect for his dedication to hockey. He was a major part in bringing the club into the NIHL National division and has always gone out of his way to spend time with fans and be friendly and approachable. We would like to thank Cliff for everything he has done and wish him every success for the future.
Cliff will always be very welcome at the rink and we hope to see him around in the near future”
Speaking about his departure Cliff said: “It’s tough to find the words to express my feelings on leaving the club after an association that has lasted over 10 years as an Assistant and more recently Head Coach.
A job that I always wanted to have a crack at and I leave with no regrets, I did my very best every single time I came to the rink and when you do that you can’t look back with anything other than pride.
I would like to thank everyone involved in the last 2 seasons over 3 years but mostly the players, the equipment and medical staff and my Assistant Coach Ross Bowers.
I’m sorry we weren’t able to bring a trophy home for you guys, the best fans in the league, there’s one on the horizon, of that I’m sure, and I wish all the returning players and the new coaches the very best of luck next season.
Time moves on, people come and people go, but some things remain the same, it’s not a logo or a jersey that makes a club, it’s the people and the last few weeks have proven that we still have by far the best group of people in our club and hopefully I will see many of you again in the future.
We will share details of our new coaching structure in the coming days.