Rink: Planet Ice, Milton Keynes
League: English Premier League
Colours: Black, White, Gold
The Milton Keynes Lightning are one of the most well known names in the English Premier League despite this the team are only just entering their 10th year.
Founded in 2002 the Lightning took over from the Kings who were Milton Keynes ice hockey side until a dispute with the arena sent them to Solihull. The Lightning though made an instant impact firstly on the ice by finishing second in their first season in the Premier League and then off the ice. In the summer of 2003 amidst the confusion of the winding up of the Superleague, the MK Lightning emerged as founder members of the new Elite League. Although the side decided against entered the league it put the Lightning on the map.
The side continued their development in the EPL and became a dominate force as they won back to back championships in 2004 and 2005. The Lightning also dominated the playoffs winning that title for a record 4 years in a row.
With the British National League winding up the EPL took in new teams with Guildford and Hull stepping down. That squeezed the Lightning off their perch but a revamp team returned to the top in 2008. That season the Lightning finished second to the grand slam winning Peterborough Phantoms.
A year later with Basingstoke and Manchester entering the league from the EIHL the Lightning were the team to beat as they won the league before losing to the eighth seed Swindon Wildcats in the playoff quarterfinals. But their previous dominance could be found again for very long. The Lightning failed to defend their title finishing 5th in 2011 and after a promising start finished 5th again in 2012. They did however make the playoff final in 2011 but missed out on the finals for the second time in 3 seasons to a dramatic overtime goal in their quarterfinal to the Slough Jets.
It now looks as though the Milton Keynes Lightning will not be entering the Elite League anytime soon having resigned from their position on the board. Any hopes were also dented by plans to redevelop the ice arena falling through as the primary tenant for the new development went into administration. Those plans now do not appear to be coming to fruition anytime soon.
English Premier League Champions: 2003, 2004, 2010
English Premier League Playoff Winners: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006