Easter Sunday’s home game against Slough Jets marks the end of an era for MK Lightning, and everyone connected with the club is determined to see it go out with a bang.
The English Premier League play-off quarter final second leg is arguably the biggest game in Lightning’s history because of more than just the significance of what happens out on the ice.
The last game to be played in Milton Keynes for more than a year, only a win will do for Lightning who hope to give Planet Ice a memorable send off before work on its refurbishment begins this summer.
When the club returns to the city from an enforced exile to Coventry, they will play in one of the best ice rinks in the country, but ending on a high this Sunday is imperative.
Victory over two legs against Slough will see Lightning travel to their soon to be Coventry home for the EPL play-off finals weekend in great spirits. Defeat will mean their first match in their adopted home won’t come until autumn.
Lightning have called Planet Ice home since the club was formed in 2002, but with the 13-year-old rink set to benefit as part of a £40 million redevelopment of the Leisure Plaza, Sunday’s all-important quarter final second leg takes on even more significant.
With that in mind, chairman Vito Rausa has called for fans to turn out in force and make it a night to remember.
He said: “Our supporters have been superb for us all season - last week for our final league game, most of the seats were full and it was two people deep most of the way around the plexiglass - the team noticed how big the crowd was, they were blown away by it.
“Sunday is our last game in the Thunderdome as we’ve known it ever since the Lightning came into being - it’s a massive game for us, that we hope will see us finish it having qualified for Coventry finals weekend. We want to play it in front of a capacity crowd.
“We’re asking our supporters to come along on Sunday in even bigger numbers - bring your family, friends, colleagues and show them what a fantastic asset the town has in the Lightning, celebrate the end of one era and start looking forward to the next one.
“Next season will be a transitional one while we play out of a different base - but when we come back, it’ll be to a fantastic modern facility that we hope will be the envy of the English Premier League.
“Come to the game wearing Lightning shirts from along the years, come in fancy dress - whatever you want - it would be great to make it a real party atmosphere.
“But let’s pack the place to the rafters, roar the team on to a win - give our home the farewell it deserves and start looking forward to the future!”
And that future will look even brighter if they do the business against Slough.