Fans of the Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning will have their patience rewarded this Saturday with their first sight at home of the  team assembled over the summer, in pre-season action against the Guildford Flames  (7pm Sat 1 Sept, Planet Ice MK Arena).

Lightning’s signing announcements have – in common with most other teams – been spread across the five month break, Head Coach Doug McKay’s most recent addition announced at the club’s Meet The Players event on Monday in the shape of Andreas Valdix.

Well publicised, league-wide visa issues have resulted in new MKL boss McKay’s journey from Canada to the UK being delayed.  His place on the bench for Wednesday’s opener against Coventry Blaze was taken by Lewis Clifford, Head Coach of NIHL side the MK Thunder.

Flames Head Coach Paul Dixon has retained half of the players who took the side to a sixth place finish last season.  Meanwhile Doug McKay wants to put his own stamp on the club this season, with only James Griffin retained from last year’s roster.

Guildford’s top four goalscorers last year – Kruise Reddick, Ian Watters, John Dunbar and Calle Ackered – are all retained as are defensemen Kevin Philips, Jesse Craige and the experienced Jez Lundin, as well as netminding duo Michael Will and Chris Carrozzi.

Brit forward Ben Campbell departed to move back to his native north-east and the NIHL Whitley Warriors, whilst Brett Ferguson and Ben Davies both left for Australia’s Melbourne Mustangs.

Coach Dixon’s summer signings comprise a mixture of prospects from the ECHL and some with experience of the Elite League.  These include last season’s first choice net minder at Dundee Stars, Travis Fullerton, forward Erik Lindhagen from Nottingham Panthers, and a name well known to Milton Keynes fans – Canadian forward Kevin King.

Saturday’s game is the first pre-season fixture for both sides, who have enjoyed a long and exciting rivalry that stretches from its roots in the EPL to both sides’ second season in the Elite League.  

All the usual fun for supporters will be taking place including 50-50, Shirt from his Back and the Funky Duckling Chuck A Duck challenge.  

Doors open on Saturday at 6.00pm and the game begins at 7.00pm