Work permit hold-up delays Lightning coach McKay

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Head coach Doug McKay cannot begin work with MK Lightning yet because of delays with his visa.

The Canadian, who will replace Pete Russell at the helm of the Elite League side, was due to begin training with his new side this week, but could be forced to remain in Canada until his permit is granted.

Application for his work permit was submitted earlier this summer, but delays have meant McKay is still in limbo as to whether he can move to the UK.

“A plan is already in place for what the players will be doing when they start training,” confirmed Lightning owner Graham Moody. “We understand there have been issues affecting other clubs in the Elite League this summer and is highly unusual. It’s just unfortunate our Head Coach is unable to travel to us.

“We are at the mercy of the UK Border Authority with this; we’ve escalated it to the Home Office and been in touch with UKBA but have had nothing from them, and we are still waiting for the green light to get Doug over here.

Doug McKay remains optimistic that this hiccup in the immigration process will not hinder the Lightning’s pre-season preparations. “Obviously it’s unconventional that the players will meet their supporters before their coach! Having recruited these guys, I know they are a very special group and I trust them to be 100 per cent professional in their preparations.

“We have some great leaders on our team and they’ll be involved in running the on-ice and off-ice preparations and making sure everyone is firing on all cylinders. We will be ready to hit the ground running at the start of the season. Whether I’m there for our first matches or not, I know the supporters will be right behind the team and be that extra man on the ice for them.”