Milton Keynes Lightning land veteran defenceman Ryan Lannon

    Ryan Lannon Image Credit: ECHL

    Milton Keynes Lightning head coach and general manager Doug McKay continues to bolster his team’s roster with the addition of veteran defenceman Ryan Lannon.

    The 35-year-old left-handed defenceman joins the Lightning after spending the past season playing for the Worcester Railers and Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL.

    Current Gladiators head coach Chuck Weber cites the player as “a stay-at-home defenseman who blocks shots and does the little things well.”

    The 6-foot-2 Massachusetts native, who was selected in the eighth round of the 2002 NHL draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, is enjoying a career revival after a four-year hiatus from the sport. 

    Coming to the decision last summer that he still had a passion for playing hockey, he went on to feature in 48 regular season games to help Atlanta to a fourth-placed league finish.Ryan Lannon Image Credit: ECHL

    He scored three goals and earned a further three assists whilst also sporting the third-highest plus-minus points out of the team’s blue-liners by the end of the regular season.

    Lannon’s playing career includes a spell with the US National Development Team then four seasons representing the world-famous Harvard University, where his NHL drafting came straight after his freshman season.

    Following his studies, he was signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins’ AHL affiliate team, the Wilkes-Barrie/Scranton Penguins – helping them to top their conference in his first and final seasons.

    He was in great company while playing there, playing alongside legendary NHL goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury as well as future NHL players such as Colby Armstrong, Mark Letestu and Paul Bissonnette.

    Joining the Lightning will also see Lannon play alongside former teammate Tim Wallace, with the pair playing together for the AHL Penguins for two seasons between 2006 and 2008.

    Three more seasons of AHL hockey followed his time at Wilkes-Barrie Scranton, before he moved to Europe, signing for Finnish Elite Liiga team KalPa mid-season 2010.

    The following year, Lannon was part of the KalPa team which won the championship.

    During his career sabbatical, he coached at the Red Bull Academy in Austria then worked for Paul Vincent – now Head Skills Instructor at the NHL Florida Panthers.

    Lannon is already looking forward to his first taste of the British game: “Coach McKay has an infectious enthusiasm for the challenge ahead, and playing in England affords me a unique opportunity to combine my love of hockey with travel and higher education.”

    “I appreciate the opportunity provided to me and look forward to meeting my fellow teammates and Lightning fans in September.”

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