Lightning fans have been great says Rausa

Lightning fans. Pic: Jez Tibbetts
Lightning fans. Pic: Jez Tibbetts

General Manager Vito Rausa has praised Lightning fans for sticking with the team after the move to Coventry.

While Planet Ice is being refurbished, fans from Milton Keynes have been flocking to the Skydome to watch their side play.

“They’ve been amazing,” said Rausa. “We put on a coach that sells out, and so many of them have organised car-shares.

“They’re always there early, waiting for the doors to open. It’s great to see, and I just don’t think fans of any other club would go to these lengths to stick with their club.

“It is not ideal when you’re in such a big arena and people can sit where they want - the sound can get lost in there and it can look like we haven’t got a lot of support.

“But a lot of visiting teams have said how amazed they were at our supporters, and that’s testament to them.”

But it’s not just the fans who have stuck by Lightning during the move.

Rausa said he has been blown away by the level of loyalty and team spirit shown by the players, who have put in the effort and the miles to keep Lightning on the front foot on the ice.

He said: “There’s a great team spirit in the dressing room. Not one player has spoken out about the travelling, about the arrangements we’ve had to make as a result of the move.

“And we’re playing good hockey too.

“We don’t have a dedicated room just for us in Coventry, we have to take our kit away with us every time we go there and air it in a room in Milton Keynes and bring it all back up again whenever we go.

“It’s far from ideal but we are coping well and things seem to be going well out on the ice.”

Rausa remains confident that the newly refurbished Planet Ice will be ready in time for next season, and has been impressed with the level of progress of the new rink.

And with a new rink set to open in the Food Centre, Lightning will have somewhere much closer to home to train.

He said: “Everything is coming on really well, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that it will be ready in time for next September.

“Having the new rink in Milton Keynes will help us get another training session in. We can only train once a week at the moment, so to get more time on the ice will do us a world of good.”