The new Head Coach of the Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning has said how much he’s looking forward to putting his first ever Elite League team into action, ahead of the new season this September.

Speaking to BBC 3 Counties radio, Doug McKay also praised the club’s owners for their work in ensuring the organisation could field a competitive team in the UK’s top tier, just weeks after taking over the club last summer. The club’s new boss said:

“It was a team from the second tier who went up – Graham and Monica Moody inherited the set-up, and to ice a competitive team in their first year was amazing”

After a career which saw him gain experience around Europe as well as acting as an assistant coach in the world-renowned NHL, McKay was announced at Lightning in the spring – and is looking forward to extending his 28 year career in the sport:

“As an Assistant Coach you don’t have decision making power but you do a lot of the training work and scouting – it really set me up to come to Europe and be a Head Coach. In my first season in Utrecht we won the championship; I stayed four or five years and the hockey was tremendous!”

In just one season at Elite level, the MKL supporters have gained a reputation for their vocal backing of the team at home and away – a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by McKay, who will also be the club’s General Manager.

“Our fan base and their loyalty is incredible, They get behind the team, win or lose, they’re vocal and just want to be proud of their team.”

With the season still three months away, Lightning’s season ticket sales so far this summer have already passed last year’s total at the same stage – and Coach McKay is looking forward to his first campaign in the UK.

“I have no expectations for win numbers, goals, powerplays etc – I just want to put a competitive product on the ice, for the team to be proud to represent Milton Keynes, for the fans to be proud and the volunteers to enjoy coming to the rink to help the owners.

“I’ve been given a great opportunity – a chance to come in and work with two incredible owners, put in a good structure and help move the organisation forward. I’m looking forward to the challenge!”

Season ticket information and application forms are available from the Planet Ice MK Arena or from mk-lightning.co.uk/tickets/season-tickets.