Exclusive Interview - ISSUE 2 (MK)
Ollie, our sports columnist, has pinned down Ross Bowers, former MK Lightning player and current assistant coach, for an exclusive interview to talk about the hockey team and his recent personal journey.
So how is all with MK Lightning? What happened to the season this year?
With the coronavirus pandemic ending last season prematurely, we haven’t quite known what this season would hold. We played in a 6 game streaming series in November which was a success but then the government guidelines tightened in December and that put an end to the idea of a January season start date.
How has Covid affected ice hockey and MK Lightning?
We are classified as an elite level sport so can operate during government lockdowns. However, the situation is different for every team and with most teams heavily reliant on match night revenue, it isn’t sustainable to play a full season. We are hopeful that the summer goes to plan and the league can start again in September.
What does your role require you to do at MK Lightning?
As assistant coach, I see my role as a bit of a stepping stone between the players and our head coach, Lewis Clifford. I help to get the team prepared to play and during match nights, I run the offence/forwards from the bench.
What does 2021 look like for MK lightning?
f the restrictions are lifted and spectators are allowed back in buildings, then MK Lightning will hope to start the new season in September. The ownership group works very hard and will do everything they can to make this happen.
Are games any different without any spectators?
The whole situation around playing in empty arenas was very strange. We had to remain professional and find our motivation. Ice hockey fans are a very passionate bunch and create a great atmosphere so that was definitely missed.
You played for Lightning for a number of years, do you miss playing ice hockey?
I’m happy to be retired. There are definitely elements of playing that I do miss, but I feel lucky to have enjoyed so many great years and I’m happy to walk away from the playing side. It’s nice to wake up on a Monday morning after a weekend's games and be able to walk down the stairs
without my body being in pain.
What is your favourite moment whilst being at MK Lightning, either as a player or a coach?
I’ve been so lucky to have played with some great players and won a lot of trophies but the 2010 league title probably stands out the most. We went through a bit of a team rebuild that year and were excepted to finish mid-table, but the team chemistry was great and we just kept winning.
Would you ever want to take the top job and become a head coach?
Absolutely not. I’ve enjoyed being an assistant coach and it’s nice to be around the team and help where I can, but I have no aspirations of a head coaching career. I’ve seen firsthand the amount of preparation that's required with being a head coach. I don’t think people are aware of the pressure coaches are under, a run of bad results and your job can be on the line.
Sir Rod Stewart’s son Liam plays for Lightning, have you ever had the chance to meet Sir Rod, and if so, what’s he like?
I have. Rod came into the dressing room after a game last year and spent time laughing and joking with the team. I managed to get an autograph for my mum, so that got me in the good books. I think Liam scored two goals that night so Rod was just a proud dad watching his son play.
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