Lightning keeping an eye on the future

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Milton Keynes Lightning logo With several players in the current roster having begun their career in the town's youth system, the Smith Recycling MK Lightning is certainly aware that organic development is just as important as recruiting talent from further afield.

With this in mind, EPL Cup Finalists Lightning have extended their involvement with the town's junior network, MK Storm.

MK Lightning’s Polish netminder, Przemyslaw Odrobny.  Photo by Tony  SargentLightning's Assistant Coach, Lewis Clifford, came up through the ranks of MK's junior system and is now the organisation's Head Coach. Other MK Storm alumni playing for Lightning include Edward Knaggs, Leigh Jamieson and netminder Jordan Hedley.

And now, Storm's young netminders are being coached by Lightning's current star between the pipes - Polish national team netminder Przemy Odrobny.

With a save percentage of 93.4%, Przemy - nicknamed "the Great Wall of Milton Keynes" - is the top performing netminder in the English Premier League currently, and is expected to backstop Poland in Division 1A at the World Championships in April.

Przemy currently coaches Storm's netminders once a week for up to an hour teaching skating techniques, positioning and speed.

"Usually we start with a warm-up then technical skating without shots and stretching - then we start excercises in nets with the forwards shooting. At the end, a little work on quickness then somtimes we have some fun - tag play or goalies games."

He continued, "We always record the sessions using a tablet then I show them straight after the session what they did well or need to improve on. It's so important to see for yourself how you're doing - I know myself how useful it is!"

Are the sessions yielding dividends in the form of improvements? "I can already see improvements - they are a really good group but there is still work to do. In 2-3 months we should be able to see even bigger improvements!"

MKL Head Coach and Director of Hockey, Pete Russell - himself a former netminder - commented, "In the UK the question on import goalies comes up all the time and it's a great debate. Przemy is a great goalie: he moves well, fills the net and makes the game look easy. To have him working on the skills he has learned in different places in the world is fantastic for our future stars. He is doing a great job and is very focused on working with the younger goalies and helping developing them in any way possible. It's a huge positive and can only help our future goalies in MK improve their game.”

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Click here to see the latest Milton Keynes Lightning roster for the 2016/17 season

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