Video: New Planet Ice is worlds apart from the old

It’s brighter, more inviting, the ice has been relaid, the facilities are brand new - but most importantly for ice hockey fans, it’s in Milton Keynes.

Planet Ice in the Leisure Plaza will throw open their doors again to MK Lightning fans on Saturday for their game against Sheffield Steeldogs - their first ‘home’ game in 18 months.

“I’m very proud of it, of course I am,” said John Neville, MK of Planet Ice. “The new seats, centre clock, barriers entirely of seamless glass - it’s something to be proud of for sure.

“It’s something the city can be proud of. It used to be a something of an eyesore. People thought we couldn’t do it, but we’ve proven it can.

“This is a refurbishment, but to be honest, it’s a new facility.

“If anyone walks in this weekend, they’ll wonder where they are!”

Planet Ice

Planet Ice

The facility is almost unrecognisible from its previous incarnation.

Around £4 million has been spent to completely transform the aging structure.

In fact, the pad itself was stripped so far back that Mr Neville even discovered the original line markings for the MK Kings - the town’s ice hockey team in the early 1990s.

He said: “It used to be black and yellow, but it’s all whites and greys. It’s light and airy now. The big blue duct has gone. Everything has changed bar one wall which backs onto the railway line.

“All the stand structures are as were, but everything else is new.”

On Tuesday, layers of ice were being laid in preparation of Friday’s reopening, with members of the public getting their first chance to get back out on the ice ahead of Lightning’s homecoming on Saturday night.

But Mr Neville admitted there was still a lot of work to be done before the facility would be completely finished, but assured everyone that, one way or another, it’ll be ready.

He said: “We’ll be working through the next few weeks to ensure everything is totally finished, but come the weekend, we’ll be ready.

“There’s always a lot to do - Saturday will come and go, but we’ll be ready one way or another!”