MK Thunder Head Coach Lewis Clifford has secured his third signing for the upcoming 2018-19 NIHL season in the form of Great Britain Under 18 international Lewis English.
The 17-year-old forward joins Thunder after spending the last two seasons developing his game Sweden in the J18 and J20 leagues.
“I’m really happy to have been able to sign Lewis for next season,” Clifford said. “He fits the mould of the kind of player I’m looking for and I feel he will really add to our team.”
English left home at 15 in 2016 to work on his game full-time with Bodens HF in J18 Elit following a junior career in Slough that saw him become an England U14 and Great Britain U16 international.
The new MKT number 19’s second year in Scandinavia included games in J18 and J20 Elit and concluded with winning D2A gold with Great Britain at the U18 World Junior Championships.
“I saw Lewis playing for the GB Under 18’s in the recently televised games and I was impressed with what I saw,” Clifford said. “When I spoke to him I was even more impressed by his mature attitude and outlook for such a young guy.”
Four of Clifford’s 2017-18 roster received international recognition last season — including Josh Crane and Rio Grinell-Parke who also gained Elite League experience with MK Lightning after impressing with MKT.
English said the attraction of playing for Thunder and the prospect of continuing his development under Clifford were major factors in his move to MK.
“After my last season in Sweden, I wanted to play for a good team with a good reputation,” English said.
“I spoke to the guys who have previously played for Lewis and they mentioned he is good with feedback, one-on-one coaching, he was approachable and through the one-on-one talks I have had with him I felt like he would be the best coach to push me and get the most out of me.
“I am really excited to play in Milton Keynes as there are a lot of opportunities with having the Elite League team and NIHL team and to see if I can bring the skills and knowledge I learnt in Sweden into English hockey.
“I am looking forward to meeting all the new teammates, to working with Lewis, and to the opportunities available,” English said.
Both English and his new coach are relishing the challenges ahead as Thunder enter a second consecutive season in the second-tier of British ice hockey.
“Lewis wants to play hockey at the highest level and is willing to do whatever he needs to to make that happen,” Clifford said. “Which is shown by the fact he went to Sweden by himself as a young man to get opportunities to play at a level that’s not available to him in this country.
“I hope we are able to help him springboard his career onwards and give him a platform to achieve his goals. I look forward to working with Lewis when the season starts.”
Lewis’ home and away jerseys for 2018-19 are now available to sponsor in our Own & Loan scheme. Email GM Dave Fairhurst on email@example.com to register your interest.