Milton Keynes Lightning have secured the signing of former NHL draft pick defenceman, Matt Nickerson from the Belfast Giants.
Hailing from Connecticut, USA, Matt was drafted by the Dallas Stars in 2003, aged just 18. He went on to gain significant experience in North America, Europe and the UK, gaining a reputation as an uncompromising defenceman who will stand up for his team - but who can also play hockey.
Nickerson was spotted by NHL scouts whilst playing for Texas Tornado in the AHL. The Stars signed him to a three year entry level contract; during the subsequent 2004 NHL lockout he played with Victoriaville Tigers in the QMJHL, before being snapped up by Ässät in Finland’s elite league. During his first stint there, he was one of the silver medal-winning team which progressed to the league finals.
In the 2005-06 season he donned the Dallas Stars uniform again, scoring against Edmonton Oilers in an exhibition game. The Oilers went on to sign Matt in 2009 and he played 19 matches for their affiliate team, Springfield Falcons. In 2013 came his British hockey debut in the first of two seasons with Fife Flyers, before transferring to Belfast Giants in 2015.
His refusal to let his team be intimidated has made Matt a fan favourite throughout his career and we are delighted he has dedicated the next stage of an exciting career to the MK Lightning.
After putting pen to paper, Matt commented, "I'm very excited to be joining the Lightning for their first season in the Elite League. Coach Russell has signed some great talent and I can't wait to get started!"
Head Coach Pete Russell was enthusiastic about the qualities Matt Nickerson will bring to the team, commenting: " I'm delighted to have added Matt to our line up for the coming season.
"When I knew he was available we did all we could to make it happen. He is a great addition to our organisation - to add a person with such experience and character was a no-brainer.
"Matt is the full package. He skates well for such a big man, is solid in his own end, plays hard in tough areas, makes a good first pass, picks good spots to join the rush and of course he takes care of his team mates when required.
"He is a huge character both on and off the ice - a great team-mate and will be 100 per cent a fans' favourite.
"Our partnership with the University of Buckingham helped us to put this deal in place and Matt will be a great ambassador for both parties."