They say that all’s well that ends well, writes Jon Boyle.
And after Milton Keynes Lightning shocked their rivals in the last three games of the season to win both the English Premier Ice Hockey League Cup and the play-offs, it’s no surprise that defenceman Michael Farn was smiling when Celebrate:MK caught up with him.
But then again the Durham-born 28-year-old has more reason than most to be cheerful as he’s playing in a city he calls home, for a club he calls family, with his first child on the way with his worldie of a girlfriend!
Michael, pictured above with the trophies, said: “It’s been an incredible season and I’ve now won all three trophies with Lightning as we won the league in my first season in MK in 2009.
“Our head coach Pete Russell told us towards the end of this season that we hadn’t hit our peak yet, even though we finished second in the league.
“He was spot-on because our 4-1 home win over Peterborough Phantoms to win the cup was one of the most one-sided games we’ve played at Planet Ice, then in the play-off weekend we dominated both games to secure the double.
“I’m settled here in MK now so it means a lot to win trophies with this club.
“Most of my best friends are here, I’ve got a house here, I work at Network Rail head office in the week and my girlfriend is four-and-a-half months pregnant, so I’m here for life now – this is my home.
“There is a real family feel at the rink and around the club which has helped us a lot this season.
“The bond between the players, their families, the staff and the fans is fantastic.”
Lightning turned in two of their best performances of the season in the play-offs to torch Guildford Flames 8-3 in the semi-final before mauling league winners Telford Tigers 7-2 in the final at Coventry.
Michael said: “We have one of the biggest crowd followings in the league, which was a massive boost in the play-off final.
“Pretty much 90% of the rink was backing us and it spurred us on as it felt like a home game.
“We must be pushing 1,800 average attendances for our home games. With the family feel, the new rink and us winning games it’s a nice place to come.”
MK Lightning are set to step up to the Elite League next season, which means an uncertain future for Michael and his team-mates despite their heroics this term.
He said: “It’s a step foward for the club by playing at the highest level of British ice hockey, but the club can have 14 imports next season instead of our current five so there will be a lot of changes.
“We are a big family so it will be sad in a way for people to leave – I don’t think there’s a better team in the country that does it the way MK does.
“It’s been a big part of my life and other people’s lives and I wouldn’t change it for the world. “It’s going to be an interesting summer, with a lot of talks with a lot of people, but hopefully I’ve got some more games to play in MK.”
Photo credit: Matchnight photos by Tony Sargent