LIGHTNING’S squad for the new English Premier League season continues to take shape with the announcement that highly rated defenceman Lewis Christie will play in the club’s colours for at least two more years.
In four seasons so far with the club the 22-year-old has established himself as a rock-solid member of the squad and is as vocal on the ice as he is on the bench.
Hailing from Edinburgh, Christie’s early form with Murrayfield Raccoons earned him an international call-up, representing Team GB at U18 level two years running.
He got his first taste of senior hockey with Elite League side Belfast Giants back in 2007 before he signed for Lightning the following year – the season including five appearances for Team GB U20s.
“I’m delighted that I’m going to be a part of MK Lightning again. It’s a fantastic team with great players and fans, and I’m looking forward to another competitive season,” he said after putting pen to paper for the next two years.
And Lightning player coach Nick Poole said he was delighted to have signed up a player he describes as a Great Britain star of the future.
“We feel Lewis has become one of the best British defenders in our league. His composure on the puck means it’s easy to forget how young he is – with his potential and his thirst for improving, I really believe he could be playing for GB’s senior squad in a few years,” said Poole.
“He combines great skating ability with aggressive defending to play against other teams’ most attacking players and shows an improvement in his game every season, and we’re really thrilled to have secured his services for two more years.”
>> Generous ice hockey fans turned out in force at Planet Ice on Saturday to raise over £2,000 for a children’s charity when they watched the UK Firefighters side take on the Armed Services.
Ticket receipts, the players’ match fees, raffle ticket sales and bucket collections from the day will all boost the funds of the Burned Children’s Club – a charity which supports youngsters injured in domestic fires, and their families.
With prizes including game-worn shirts from Lightning’s Lewis Clifford, Nick Chinn and former Lightning skater Matt Towalski, such was the demand for raffle tickets that initial supplies quickly ran out, forcing fund raisers on duty to send out for more. Other prizes up for grabs included family tickets for Lightning and MK Thunder fixtures in the coming season.
Lightning players Michael Farn, Grant McPherson, Adam Carr and newly-signed netminder Stephen Wall were on hand to lend their support, as was Team GB U20 defenceman Ross Green.
The match saw the Combined Armed Services side beat the UK Firefighters 3-2 in front of several hundred fans who gave up a rare sunny afternoon to see the two sides do battle.
After taking an early lead thanks to an unassisted goal from Clifford – playing his first full game in a year – the Forces side pushed the Firefighters all the way, twice recovering from a deficit to steal the win in the final period.
And although the Firefighters were left disappointed with the defeat, Clifford said both teams were delighted with the amount of money raised in the process.
“We’re absolutely overwhelmed by the support we received,” he said. “We hoped to raise around £1,000 and get a crowd of around 200, but we actually doubled both of those figures.
“We were disappointed not to come out on top, but the opposition worked hard for their win. But the real winners will be the children who use the service provided by the Burned Children’s Club.”