With the club now qualified for the EPIHL Play Off Finals in Coventry this weekend, the Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning is delighted to announce the return of British forward Tom Carlon for the 2016-17 season.

Tom, 29, was the Lightning’s top British goals and point scorer in the 2013-14 season – and equal third highest goal scorer in the English Premier League. Since then Tom has been playing and coaching in Abu Dhabi, but has decided that the time is right to return to the British game – picking up where he left off, in Milton Keynes.

His early career took off in his native Telford before stepping up to the Elite League with Coventry Blaze in 2006 at the age of just 19. The following seasons saw him develop his career in the English Premier League with Bracknell Bees, Peterborough Phantoms and Slough Jets, before his move to Milton Keynes. Tom has developed a reputation as a power forward and skilful playmaker who can also find the back of the net but – standing at 6’ 4” – with a physical presence when required.

Tom can also count nine appearances at Great Britain U18 and 20 at GB U20 level to his name.

“I’m delighted to be able to add Tom to our roster for next season,” commented MK Head Coach, Pete Russell. “He made contact in February and it was an easy decision to make. He’s a great person and a top professional who will add size and goals, which can only make us stronger. He’s strong around the hard areas and competes hard every night.

“He’s no stranger to the Lightning and its great supporters – he’s a great addition to our group and will fit in perfectly. I’ve coached Tommy in the national junior teams and we had some special memories together. Here’s hoping we can create a few more!”

Tom Carlon said he was excited about his impending return to the MK Arena: “I’m pumped about it, I can’t wait! When I’d decided we were going to move back to the UK, I knew I wanted to play hockey again but wasn’t sure if anyone would take a chance as I’ve been playing non-contact hockey for a while. I got in touch with Pete to see if he would consider it and all came together quite quickly. Pete coached me in my time with the GB junior teams and I learned a lot from him and really enjoyed it – so to get the chance to work with him again is fantastic.

“I always said if I was lucky enough to play in the EPL again I’d want to play for Milton Keynes because there’s such a class group of lads there, the set-up is second to none and the fans are incredible. The club always made my wife and I feel at home and it has the feel of a big family! I’m really happy about it and can’t wait to put on the Lightning jersey again.”

Tom Carlon’s jerseys are immediately available for sponsorship at £200 each for light or dark jerseys and £125 for warm up. The name of the sponsor will be displayed on the back of each jersey, included on our website and match programme and announced at the start of every game where it is worn – then it’s presented to its owner at the end of the season. Jersey sponsorships are a unique gift for a loved one, a treat for yourself or a fantastic way publicise your business to around 2,000 loyal supporters at every home game, as well as 27 away games from as far afield as Hull and Basingstoke. To sponsor, email dave@b2promodesign.com.

Season tickets are now available for the 2016-17 season – secure your favourite seat for another action packed season at the best possible price, with an Early Bird discount for tickets booked before Friday 10 June! Our Early Bird booking event takes place in the Tag Taylor Bar & Grill at the MK Arena from 7.30pm on Wednesday 8 June, come to the Arena and try out the view from the seat you want, then book in person. Supporters booking before 10 June can take advantage of our instalment scheme to spread the cost. For full details and application form see mk-lightning.co.uk/tickets/season-tickets or pick up a form at the MK Arena box office.