Thunder’s storm still goes on

Lewis Clifford was appointed the new coach of MK Lightning under the Moodys and is in talks with MKIHC to continue in the role (PHOTO: MK Thunder)

Milton Keynes Thunder coach Lewis Clifford says it’s a case of taking things a day at a time as the club continue their fight for survival.

The NIHL 1 South side are just under £2,000 off reaching their £10,000 target they set that would keep them in business for the remainder of the season, but still need a push that can help keep them afloat beyond Christmas.

And he admits he’s been blown away by the response by the ice hockey fans around the country as they did their bit in their hour of need.

“I think taking it a day at a time is the only thing we can do,” he said. “We’re very close to our target online and we have some money coming in from collections carried out by other teams which will be a huge help.

“With a few more days to donate I’m really hoping we will be out of the woods before we play at the weekend then we can send the guys off on their Christmas break knowing they can relax and come back refreshed ready to have a real good crack at the second half of the season.

“The response has been overwhelming. Sometimes when you’re part of an organisation that is struggling, or in this case a team who is struggling to fill their building, it’s easy to think you’re all alone.

“But we’ve seen over the last week or so that there are literally hundreds of people out there who do care and are willing to help.  

“It’s never easy to ask people for money, especially with Christmas looming, but the support we have received has been outstanding and I want to thank everyone who has helped us.”

Lewis is also keen to make clear that their financial position is not down to rising costs due to making the step up through promotion last season.

But he also spoke about the concerns he had in Thunder putting out an appeal just weeks after league rivals Invicta Dynamos did the same following their own issues.

However, Sunday’s win over Streatham helped put smiles on the faces of everyone as they were able to forget about their off-ice issues, albeit briefly.

He added: “The win was nice. We haven’t had enough of them this year and the whole week and weekend I felt the boys were playing with other things on their mind.

“It’s understandable, but the way they rallied in the third period to get us two points was encouraging.  We haven’t won enough games so far this year, but the win were well deserved and hard fought.

“But there is a misconception that as we’ve been promoted, it’s why we are struggling. This is not accurate. We’re in the same league that this club has been in for long time, but the collapse of the EPL has changed things.

“The absorption of those teams has hugely increased the standard of the league and therefore the expenses associated with trying to run a team at this level.

“Invicta ran their own appeal so it was a concern we wouldn’t get the same level of goodwill so soon after them.  However, at the point we were at, all we could do was try.

“The support from some of our fellow teams which was pledged before we went public was outstanding and that gave us hope.

“All of the teams were really supportive and that made us hope that the wider public would feel just as sympathetic towards us.

“For that, we’re extremely grateful and hope we can reach our target before the weekend.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so by heading to MK Thunder’s CrowdFunder page.

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