What a first NIHL season we have had! Last summer was spent rebuilding the club from the ground up. We started with an empty locker room and had to fill it with the right people and the right stuff to make us a competitive team out on the ice. It took a monumental effort from so many people to make this happen. Now, a bit earlier than we’d hoped due to the crazy world we are currently living in, we’d like to give our thanks to everyone who made this possible.
Let’s start with our team of players who came together to compete as the Lightning. Some signed early, others stepped up and came out of retirement to help us when injuries hit. In the end, we were blessed to have you all with us and we were carrying some serious momentum and form into the playoffs. Who knows what would have happened! They are supported by our off-ice team of Andy and Dan who make sure all the boys’ equipment needs are met and put in long hours and many miles of travel to keep them happy on the road and our medical teams of David and Liam, who patched up our team and sewed them back together.
Next, the Supporters Club, including Dave and the committee, and the band of tireless match night fundraisers who run the merchandise table, Shirt of His Back, Ollies Grid, Chuck a Duck and 50/50 every week. Add this onto the Own and Loaners (thank you to everyone who bought one or more of these), we have seen an incredible amount raised for the club and for this year’s charities the MK Hospital Charity Cancer Centre Appeal and the Royal British Legion.
And match nights could not run without the band of volunteers under the guidance of Bob and Bob. Stewarding, working with security, as well as the critical match and league activities like timekeeping and scoring. They would also not be the same without our dancing Polar Bear Pucky – thank you for all you did and all you do, you know who you are.
Talking of match nights, let’s shout out to our wonderful host Peter, and his sidekick Ollie who has already caught the eye of BBC Radio. You made it your own, and worked with one of the dodgiest PA systems you’ve probably ever worked with. We love the way you scream Lightning strikes when we score! And our media team from Lightning TV led by Chris Dicko and supported by Ben and Lexie, and official photographer Tony Sargent who captures the perfect moments every week.
Outside the match nights, we have a talented group of advisors who help, support and challenge on topics as diverse as health and safety, legal, company administration, finance, sponsorship and hockey. A group who give up their time to help make sure we’re running this club to the very best of our abilities, and to the highest moral and professional standards. And our shareholders and founder members who trusted us enough to put in money to build the dream, and to ride the roller coaster with us. Thank you all.
We couldn’t do this without all our amazing sponsors, including our Platinum Supporters: Smith Recycling who are our title sponsor for their significant contribution to the stability and success of the club. 123 Internet Group our Official Digital Partner who created our Zeus logo and brand, our website and all of our artwork and beautiful barrier board designs. All In Black for keeping everything in order on matchnights whilst being super friendly and professional. Acute Ambulance and Medical Services who provide the only Paramedic led event support crew in British Ice Hockey to keep everyone safe and well. And all our player sponsors, kit grid buyers, and all other sponsors who you know from jersey patches, barrier boards and ice logos. You’ve all been amazing partners to us and we hope we have returned the favour.
As a Board and Management, we have sent each other over 100,000 WhatApp messages and have sweated every decision and lived every moment to try and be the best we can possibly be for you lot, the best fans in British Ice Hockey. It’s been loud and proud, with singing, dancing, drumming, chanting and the very best in viral videos of Tomas Kana hits from behind the goal. You the fans make this what it is, and we are humbled and honoured to put on a show for you each week.
And finally our coach Cliff. You won’t find a man who cares more about the game of hockey and all the people in it. He has worked tirelessly and carried the weight of results on his shoulders, and been there to feel the glory when it happened. Ably assisted by Ross Bowers, we are lucky to have you as our hockey leaders.
We’re all greatly looking forward to next season and hope that by then this crazy world has settled down a bit. Keep safe everyone, and look after each other.
You make our dreams come true.
Let’s Go Lightning.