Local lad Leigh Jamieson turns down other offers to stay with Lightning

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LEIGH Jamieson’s signing is the final piece of the MK Lightning jigsaw ahead of the new English Premier League season, according to head coach Nick Poole.

Putting pen to paper on a new two-year deal, the news completes a memorable month for the Milton Keynes-born forward who recently celebrated his 27th birthday and marriage to fiancée Janine.

Jamieson said the club’s management, players and fans made agreeing terms easy, and said he turned down other offers to continue playing his ice hockey at Planet Ice.

After playing most of his career to date in defence, a change to playing up front for Lightning in the 2011/12 season proved a revelation as he contributed 38 goals and 35 assists – becoming Lightning’s top points and goal scorer, and one of the top 10 highest scorers in the league.

An example of the successful Milton Keynes junior system, Jamieson began his career with the MK Kings in 1999, and just two years later made his international debut with Team GB at the World Junior Championships.

In 2003 he began a five-year stint with the Elite League’s Belfast Giants, followed by a single season with Coventry Blaze. But ‘Jaimo’ rejoined his home town club in 2009 and marked his return with 13 goals and 34 assists, making him the club’s highest-scoring British defenceman that term.

In his first season back at Lightning, the Supporters’ Club contributed the finances necessary for his wages, and have continued to contribute towards the costs associated with keeping a key player at the club since.

For the last two seasons, Jamieson has been included in the EPL First All-Star team as selected by UK ice hockey journalists, and as well as earning a wealth of honours at domestic level, he has also recorded 45 appearances for Team GB – 15 of those at senior level.

Jamieson said: “Even though there were other options available for next season, I’m really happy to be staying and it’s an honour to have been offered a two-year contract.

“Last season Nick persuaded me that I could do a job for the team up front, and it turned out to be a pretty amazing time for me.

“The support you get from the fans, the other players and the off-ice team means you feel really secure and happy here.

“The management has put together such a fantastic roster, I’m really proud to be a part of it and September can’t come soon enough.”

Head coach Poole said: “We’re thrilled to have signed Jaimo for two more years, he’s a fantastic player who brings so much to our team.

“Talent-wise he is up there with the best in the league and he has the ability to turn a game on his own. He is big, strong and has a great eye for goal as he proved last year being our team’s top goal and point scorer in only his first season with us as a forward.

“Bringing in Adam Calder will take some of the offensive pressure off Jaimo, but it’ll also free him up, as at times last year we were a bit one-dimensional.

“He is a real character and a leader, and I know our fans will be elated with this re-signing.

“I have little doubt that he will once again be up amongst the league’s top goal scorers. More importantly I know he is determined to help the team and its fans win some silverware.”