The Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning announced that they will compete in the newly-announced National Ice Hockey League, commencing in the 2019-20 season.
Announced by the English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA) earlier this month, this exciting new league will sit above the existing NIHL Division 1 North and South.
Lightning’s membership was confirmed at a meeting of the NLMG and interested parties today, alongside applications from nine other teams.
Graham Moody, owner of the Lightning commented, “I’m very excited and optimistic about the Lightning competing in this new league. It’s going to be a combination of clubs who have faced each other previously and some who haven’t, in teams comprising a majority of British talent and two imports. Some old rivalries will be revived - and new ones formed!
“We appreciate that some of our supporters would have preferred us to retain Elite status. However the long-term financial viability of the Lightning franchise is incredibly important to us - and it became unsustainable to compete at that level. Milton Keynes is a hockey town and we are determined to maintain senior hockey here.
Graham continued, “Nobody wanted this season to be more successful, than we did. We acknowledge that mistakes were made - but it would have been a bigger mistake to try and continue in the Elite League before strengthening the already solid foundations with extra sponsorship agreements and higher attendances first.
“Joining the new National Ice Hockey League means we will be able to compete sustainably again and put a genuinely competitive team onto the ice for our fans.”
Graham and Monica Moody will host a Fans’ Forum on Thursday 21 March at a venue to be announced, getting underway at 7.30pm to explain more about their plans for the upcoming season and to provide a way for supporters to ask questions. The evening will be in an ‘open mic’ format but supporters wishing to ask a question to be asked on their behalf can email email@example.com