The Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning continued their summer recruitment with two huge signings, including one former fan-favourite returning.
Former Great Britain international and Elite League veteran Russell Cowley has joined the Milton Keynes club after spending last season with the Basingstoke Bison.
The 35-year-old spent the majority of his career playing for the Coventry Blaze, winning four EIHL titles with the Blaze as well as the Cardiff Devils in the 2006/07 season.
As the Bison’s captain last season, Cowley earned 17 goals and 49 total points in 38 regular season games – with his experience and offensive qualities a solid addition to Lewis Clifford’s roster.
The signing of Cowley is a big statement from the club, who will be hoping to compete for silverware from the get-go, but it is the return of a former Milton Keynes hockey favourite that will be sure to please many.
Versatile two-way player Leigh Jamieson returns to his hometown club after a two-year absence, having racked up over 450 appearances in Lightning colours over his previous two spells.
Also a veteran of the Elite League, Jamieson wore the alternate captain’s ‘A’ between 2009 and 2017 for the Lightning and will provide new head coach Clifford with plenty of experience and leadership qualities on the ice.
This 12-year spell with the club saw Jamieson earn league, cup and playoff honours while playing under Nick Poole and Pete Russell – with the 2012/13 season seeing the Milton Keynes native named to the Great Britain national team’s Olympic qualifying squad for three games.
Per the club’s official Twitter account, Cowley will wear the number 17 while Jamieson will return in his familiar number 19 that can still be spotted on fans’ jerseys around MK Arena on game nights.
With Jordan Lawday already signed up for the 2019/20 season, the Lightning’s latest additions have the team’s roster beginning to take shape in a strong way.
While still early in the off-season, and with many more signings still to be announced before the new season, the early signs are promising for the team entering the new-look second-tier NIHL.