Wednesday 29 May 2024

Armstrong Testimonial Teams Finalised

Former Wild Player Coach Scott McKenzie will ice for Team Ken in Sunday's testimonial game (Photo by Geoff White)

The team line-ups for the Ken Armstrong testimonial game at Planet Ice Widnes this Sunday 2nd June have now been finalised.

The match is being staged to celebrate the career of popular cult figure Ken Armstrong who has decided to hang up his skates after 11 years with the Wild club and will feature a “Team Wild” – basically made up of current Widnes Wild NIHL team players, albeit with the odd twist - and a “Team Ken” that Armstrong has assembled featuring friends and former team-mates from his many years in the game.

The full line ups are as follows:

Team Ken: #5 Sam Dunford, #7 Luke Brittle, #9 Ken Armstrong, #11 David Swanston, #12 Geoff Wigglesworth, #14 Josh Grocutt, #15 Lee Kemp, #16 Amanda Armstrong, #19 Calum Ruddick, #39 Scott Barnett, #44 Kohen Taylor, #47 Daniel Fay, #71 Jack Murray, #77 Scott McKenzie, #93 Shaun Dippnall, #96 Macauley Armstrong,  #30 Phil Pearson (NM)

Team Wild: #5 Rhys Edwards, #10 Nathan Britton, #11 Will Harper, #16 Mikey Gilbert, #17 Andrew Hopkins, #18 Johno Williamson, #20 Bez Hughes, #22 Louis Rosslyn, #27 Luke Alston, #32 Harrison Walker, #39 Matty Barlow, #46 Alex Mitchell, #48 Mark Gillingham, #84 Tom Jackson, #29 Jake Lowndes (NM) 

All the players’ shirts are being sold by an online auction, which runs until 5.30pm on Sunday when the testimonial game faces off. The auction can be viewed and accessed here: https://app.galabid.com/ken9testimonial/items

The Ken Armstrong Testimonial game this Sunday faces off at 5.30pm, with doors opening at 4.45. Tickets can be purchased in advance via the ticketing website at https://iceaccount.co.uk/widnes-wild or at the door on the night.


Tuesday 28 May 2024

New Ducks Set To Soar In Deeside

Deeside have announced that a new “Deeside Ducks” team will play in the NIHL Laidler Division for the 2024/25 league season.

The idea of the team is to offer a stepping stone between the highly successful Deeside Junior development system – who operate teams at various age groups from Under 10s to Under 18s - and the senior Dragons team who play in the NIHL Moralee Division.

The aim is allow younger players to continue to play competitive league ice hockey after they have “aged out” of the junior system and gain experience at senior level in the hope of eventually breaking through to the Dragons Moralee side.

The Ducks have arranged two open player trials – on Monday 10th June and Monday 17th June from 9.30 to 10.30pm at Deeside Leisure Centre.  Anybody interested in taking part is asked to contact James Parsons by email at James.Parsons@aura.wales


Monday 27 May 2024

Match Report: Connah's Quay Cobras 7 - Flintshire Phantoms 8 (Summer Classic Cup)

Simon Soltes was the Connah's Quay MVP in his first game for the Cobras 

Sunday 26th May - Summer Classic Cup: Connah's Quay Cobras 7 - Flintshire Phantoms 8

The Connah’s Quay Cobras lost out by the narrowest of margins to their North Wales rink rivals Flintshire Phantoms in a thrilling and highly entertaining 7-8 Summer Cup defeat at Deeside Leisure Centre on Sunday.

The opening period was cagey and very close and it took until the 11th minute for the deadlock to be broken.  First blood went the way of the Phantoms as they scored a delayed penalty goal punishing a slashing penalty call to take the lead.  The Cobras fought back and a goal from former Deeside Dragons league player Chris Keating drew them level with 90 second left in the period.

Connah’s Quay took the lead 2 minutes into the second period with a goal form Sam Krempasky – another former Dragon – but the visitors (Flintshire were the “away” team for this game) hit back with two quick goal of their own around the 27 minute mark to retake the lead and then edged further ahead with a powerplay goal on 32 minutes.

Martin Rybka pulled a goal back for the Cobras two minutes later but a further strike late in the period saw the Phantoms take a 3-5 lead into the second interval.  

Simon Soltes – a Slovakian student playing his first game for the Cobras - scored early in the third period to narrow the deficit to just one goal but Flintshire hit back 60 seconds later to restore the 2 goal cushion. A powerplay goal on 44 minutes saw the Phantoms go three 3 goals ahead but they were pegged back again by a shorthanded goal scored by Rybka.

A further powerplay goal – their 4th of the game – on 47 minutes extended the Flintshire lead once again and this turned out to be the match winning goal.

Connah’s Quay mounted a late surge – with Keating scoring a powerplay goal on 53 minutes and rounding off his hat-trick with a goal with just 1 second left on the clock – but it wasn’t quite enough and the Phantoms team were able to hang on for the win.

The result sees the Flintshire Phantoms leapfrog the Cobras to take over at the top of the Summer Classic Cup group table with 8 points from their 6 games to date.  The Cobras have 7 points from 5 games and the Newcastle Predators are in third place with 6 points from 3 games.  The top two finishers in the group will progress to the play off semi finals, which will be held in Sheffield in August, so there is much still to play for.

The Cobras play their next group game this Saturday 1st June when they travel away to play Trafford Thunder at Altrincham Ice rink. They then have the long trip to the North East to face Newcastle on 15th June and are next at home on 14th July when they entertain Trafford in their last match of the qualifying series at Deeside Leisure Centre. 


Match Report: Halton Huskies 10 – Blackburn Renegades 10 (Challenge Match)

David Hrubovsky scored 4 goals for the Huskies against Blackburn (Photo by David Tattum) 

Saturday 25th May – Challenge Match: Halton Huskies 10 – Blackburn Renegades 10

The Halton Huskies played out a thrilling 10-10 draw against the Blackburn Renegades in their challenge match at Planet Ice Widnes on Saturday.

The Huskies opened the scoring in the 4th minute with a goal from Valerica Florea but Blackburn equalised within 30 seconds. 

Stewart Jamieson edged the home side back in front two minutes later but the Renegades stubbornly levelled once again and then took the lead with 90 seconds left to play in the period. A goal from Dave Priestley drew the Huskies back level on 19 minutes and the score remained 3-3 at the first period break.

The second period was just as close and keenly contested. A goal from Stephen Hay on 23 minutes put Halton back in front but Blackburn equalised again three minutes later. Two strikes – from David Hrubrovsky and Jack Davies - put some daylight between the two teams for the first time at 6-4 on 30 minutes but the Renegades pulled a goal back once again.   A second goal from Hrubrovsky on 35 minutes was countered by another Blackburn strike and the score stood at a very finely poised 7-6 after two periods.

Blackburn scored first in the third period to level the scores once again but Nathan Hewitt edged the Huskies ahead again on 46 minutes. Then three straight goals for the visitors gave them a sudden lead heading into the closing stages of the game and the Huskies had a lot of work to do in the last couple of minutes.

They managed to claw their way back into the game with two goals from Hrubrovsky – his third and fourth of the night – to level the score with just 61 seconds left on the clock, and the game finished at 10-10 – exactly the same score as in the previous meeting between the two teams in East Lancashire three weeks earlier.

The Halton Huskies are next in action on Saturday 8th June when they take on the Manchester Swarm at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.15pm face off.


Mayhem Sledge League Opener This Saturday

Mayhem and GB Women teams (Photo by Mayhem PIHC)

The Mayhem Sledge team play their first game of the new 2024 British Para Ice Hockey League season this Saturday 1st June when they take on Peterborough Phantoms at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.25pm face off.

The Mayhem had a good warm up session last weekend in preparation for the new campaign when they beat the GB Women’s team 11-0 in an exhibition match and, having had to manage without a number of key players last year, are hoping to battle for honours this time around with a full strength team.

There are 5 teams in the league with Cardiff Huskies, Peterborough Phantoms and two teams from Sheffield – the Steelkings and the Steelstings – making up the opposition. Each team plays the others once at home and once away and the top four finishers also qualify for the end of season play offs.

The Mayhem’s BPIHL fixtures for 2024 are:

1st June: home v Phantoms

8th June: away @ Steelkings

16th June: home v Steelstings

23rd June: away @ Phantoms

30th June: home v Steelkings

6th July: away @ Steelstings

28th July: home v Huskies

3rd August: away @ Huskies


Admission to Mayhem home games at Planet Ice Widnes is free for all spectators.


King Ken Testimonial Game At Widnes This Sunday

Ken Armstrong with wife Amanda (Photo by Geoff White)

Widnes Wild fans and players alike will have the opportunity of giving long serving Ken Armstrong a fitting send off this Sunday 2nd June as the club are staging a special testimonial game for the cult hero at Planet Ice Widnes, 5.30pm face off.

Armstrong has decided to hang up his skates after 11 years with the Wild club and the occasion will be marked with a challenge match between a “Team Wild” – basically made up of current Widnes Wild NIHL team players, albeit with the odd twist - and a “Team Ken” that Armstrong has assembled featuring friends and former team-mates from his many years in the game. 

A number of names on the “Team Ken” roster will be very familiar to Wild fans as Armstrong’s invitation team includes, among others:  

Former Widnes captain Shaun Dippnall who played some 200 games for the Wild from 2013 to 2020 and who remains the club’s top all-time overall goals, assists and points scorer 

Popular “Sheriff” Lee Kemp – a veteran of 229 games with the Wild who played last season with Peterborough Phantoms in NIHL Division 2 South and, like Dippnall and Armstrong, was a member of the Widnes team that won three Play Off titles in a row and the Laidler Division league title in 2019

Geoff Wigglesworth, who played several spells for the Wild between 2013 and 2019

Daniel Fay, who played for the Wild for 2 seasons from 2018-20 and played last season for Chelmsford Chieftain in South 1 

David Swanston, who played for the Wild for 2 seasons from 2015-2017

Josh Grocutt, who played for Widnes during their debut 2013/14 season and is now a coach with the Wild team

Sam Dunford, who played for the Wild during the 2014/15 season and was with Altrincham Aces last season 

And Calum Ruddick, who played in the Wild’s first ever game - along with Armstrong - and has some 130 appearances from 2 spells with the Wild before ending up at Blackburn last season.

Sets of contrasting playing shirts have been especially produced for the game based on Ken’s choice of historic Wild NIHL team shirt designs.  The yellow “Team Wild” shirt matches the design that was worn during the 2018/19 league title winning season - but bearing a “10” logo on the front instead of the usual black panther image - and the black “Team Ken” shirt is based on the 2017/18 season away shirt design and sports a humorous Ken cartoon face.

The shirts are being via an online auction, with the proceeds all going towards the testimonial fund. 

Above left:  Ken Armstrong with Calum Ruddick.  Above right: Daniel Fay (Both photos by Geoff White)

Long term friend and team mate Calum Ruddick said of Armstrong: “Just an all round “team first” guy, he has been glue in the room for 10 years. He knew his role and has done it well over a long period of time - the least he deserved was this testimonial. Away from hockey he is my best mate. He doesn’t like fuss and attention being on him, but I know how much this means to him.”

Daniel Fay added: “Kenny was a great team-mate and friend to me at Widnes. It was always great fun with Ken around and he made everyone feel welcome at the rink and outside. He was and will always be a big part of the club.”

The Ken Armstrong Testimonial game this Sunday faces off at 5.30pm, with doors opening at 4.45. Tickets can be purchased in advance via the ticketing website at https://iceaccount.co.uk/widnes-wild or at the door on the night.


Monday 20 May 2024

Widnes Wild Women’s Awards Night

Wild Women’s most improved player Jennifer Hickey with coach Steve Furber (Photo by Vanessa Crickmore–Clarke / Wild Women IHC)

The DMUK Widnes Wild women’s team held their end of season Presentation Evening at the Mercure Hotel, Haydock, at the weekend and the following awards were presented:

Top Points For Season - Preston Gennoe

Best Forward - Ellen Tyrer

Best Defence - Katie Adshead

Most Improved Player - Jennifer Hickey

Coaches Player Of The Season - Katya Oliver

Unsung Hero - Karyn Cooper

Players’ Player of the Season – Rachael Pearce

The Wild Women are now having a well-earned break before training resumes later in the summer in preparation for next season.  The Wild Women are always keen to hear from prospective new players – especially anybody with league or international experience.   


Mayhem Sledge Hockey Weekend

Mayhem v GB Women MVPs Mason Hodkinson and Nik Terrell (Photo by Peter Hagan) 

The Mayhem sledge team had a good warm up in preparation for the new British Para Ice Hockey season at the weekend with a special programme of events at Planet Ice Widnes.

They staged a 3v3 cross ice tournament on Saturday and then ran a special introductory taster session for new people to try out the sport on Sunday afternoon.  This was then followed by an exhibition match between the Mayhem and the Team GB Women’s team, which ended in an 11-0 win for the home team.

It is hard to read too much into that scoreline as the GB team were very short benched and did not have their regular netminder available, but it was a good run out for all concerned.

The Mayhem took the lead after just 36 seconds and were 6-0 up by the first period break.  Four more goals followed in the second period and one in the third. The Mayhem scorers were: Dean Lahan 4+1, Anthony Booth & Anton Tomlinson 2+1, Mason Hodkinson 1+2, Tony Naylor & Mark Colquitt 1+0, Karl Nicholson 0+4 and Tom Kimm 0+1.

The Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards went to Nik Terrell for the GB Women and Mason Hodkinson - who was playing his first ever game - for the Mayhem.

The Mayhem play their first match of the 2024 league season on Saturday 1st June when they take on the Peterborough Phantoms at Planet Ice Widnes.  Face off is at 4.25pm and admission is free for all spectators.


Match Report: Sheffield Ice Tigers 2 – Halton Huskies 5 (Challenge Match)

Jake Berry opened the scoring for the Huskies away at Sheffield (Photo by David Tattum / DJT Ice Hockey Photos)

Saturday 18th May - Challenge Match: Sheffield Ice Tigers 2 – Halton Huskies 5

The Halton Huskies team picked up a 2-5 road win away to Sheffield Ice Tigers on Saturday.   

Jake Berry scored the only goal in a very close first period to give the Huskies a slight lead and goals from Nathan Hewitt and Valerica Florea edged them further ahead by the second break.  A brace from Stuart Jamieson in the third period secured the win for the Halton team 

The Huskies are in action again this Sunday 25th May when they take on the Blackburn Renegades at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.15pm face off.  The two teams fought out a thrilling 10-10 draw in the away game in Blackburn three weeks ago so both sides will be keen to secure the win this time around.  

The match falls on the Huskies club’s 8th birthday and there will be a raffle held on the day with lots of prizes.  Admission is free for all spectators.  


Friday 17 May 2024

Connah's Quay Cobras Link Up With Charity Choir


The Deeside based Connah’s Quay Cobras team welcomed a group of visitors from local charity Conwy Connect to their home game against the Shropshire Huskies on Saturday at Deeside Leisure Centre. 

Conway Connect For Learning Disabilities (or CC4LD for short) helps promote the rights of people with a learning disability living in North Wales and they have a special “Sing and Sign” Choir which incorporates Makaton signing language into their musical performances.

Makaton is the UK's leading programme for adults and children with learning or communication difficulties. It is a language programme that combines signs, symbols and speech to give different options for people to communicate and is used by over 100.000 people across the country.

In the run up to the game, the Cobras players learned some basic Makaton signs and worked with the charity to produce a joint music video performing the Guns N Roses song “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, which was then played in public for the first time on the big screen at the ice rink during the match.

You can watch the full video HERE 

And find out more about Conwy Connect at: https://www.conwy-connect.org.uk/


Wednesday 15 May 2024

2024 Rob Craig Memorial Game At Blackburn

The White and Blue teams at the 2024 Rob Craig Memorial game (Photo by Steve Cunningham)

The annual Rob Craig Memorial match took place at Blackburn Arena on Sunday, featuring a wide range of current and former NIHL league players, along with recreational players from various north west clubs.

The game is played every year in memory of former Blackburn recreational player Rob Craig who took his own life in 2017 and aims to raise funds and awareness for mental health charities.

A healthy crowd of over 600 cheered the teams on and they were treated to an entertaining goal fest worthy of the occasion.

The “Blue” team included current Widnes player Matty Barlow along with former Wild players Kieran Brown, Ian Thirkettle and Bobby Streetly while the “White” team featured Calum Ruddick, Mark Higson and Adam Barnes.

There were also a number of current and former Blackburn Hawks and Eagles players were spread across both teams as well as former team mates of Rob Craig from the Blackburn Falcons and Wyre Seagulls recreational teams. Manchester Storm’s Canadian import CJ Garcia also played on the White team.

The beneficiary of the 2024 Rob Craig Memorial game is Andy’s Man Club – an organisation that started off in Halifax and now organises local groups across the country where men aged 18 and above can speak openly about their mental health in a judgement-free, non-clinical environment.

Over £8000 has been raised so far from this year’s memorial game – with the total set to rise as player shirts are being sold off in an online auction.

For the record, the “Blue” team beat the “White” team 12-11 but, on this occasion, the taking part was certainly much more important than the winning.

You can find out more about the annual Rob Craig Memorial game HERE

and about Andy’s Man Club and their local groups via their website at andysmanclub.co.uk.



Wild Academy U12s At National Championship


The Widnes Wild Academy Under 12 team had a memorable weekend at the National Championships in Sheffield, losing all three of their games but making lots of new friends.

The competition saw the top two teams from each of the 4 regional Under 12 divisions come together to decide an overall national winner. Widnes - who had finished in second place in the North West Division – were joined by North West champions Solihull and Leeds and Sheffield from the North East Division, as well as Chelmsford and Streatham from the South East and Guildford and Slough from the South West. 

The teams were drawn into two groups of four that would play each other in a “round robin” format to decide who would proceed to the semi finals.

The Wild lost their first game 9-1 to Leeds on the Saturday morning – with the only Widnes goal coming from Caleb Eddleston - and then lost 8-0 to Guildford on Saturday evening. Sunday morning saw a much closer game where they narrowly lost out to Streatham 4-3 - with goals from Eddleston (2) and Harrison Ward (1) - but they still finished bottom of the 4-team group.

Eddleston actually scored two more goals on Saturday but, unfortunately, neither of them are counted as they came after the cut-off point in the game under the mercy /slaughter rule - thus demonstrating what a poorly thought-out piece of legislation that is… 

Guildford beat Chelmsford 7-3 in the first semi final and Sheffield beat Leeds 8-0. The final saw Sheffield beat Guilford in a dramatic penalty shoot-out after the teams had drawn 2-2 in normal play.

Monday 13 May 2024

Match Report: DMUK Widnes Wild Women 2 – Leeds Roses 3 (WNIHL Div2 N)

Team Captain for the day Laura Marcroft was the Wild Women’s MVP in the match against Leeds (Photo by Paul Breeze)


Sunday 12th May 2024 – WNIHL Div2 N: DMUK Widnes Wild Women 2 – Leeds Roses 3 

The DMUK Widnes Wild women’s team put in a battling performance but ended up on the wrong end of a 2-3 scoreline against Leeds Roses in their last game of the season at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.

The Wild Women had lost 8-2 in the away fixture against Leeds earlier in the season and then suffered a huge disappointment in their last home game against Sheffield when an equalising goal with just 27 seconds left to play robbed them of a win, so there was a lot of cross-Pennine pride at stake in this final league game.

The match started well for Widnes and they opened the scoring in the 7th minute with a well-taken goal from Preston Gennoe. There were numerous chances for both teams and the visitors had a slight edge in terms of shots on goal, but Stephanie Drinkwater water looked very composed in the Wild net and the score remained 1-0 at the first period break.

The second period was as closely contested as the first – with lots of end to end action - and Leeds eventually equalised with a goal on 25 minutes.   Widnes hit straight back, however, and a second goal from Gennoe on 29 minutes edged the home side back in front.

The score stood at a tantalisingly close 2-1 to Widnes at the second interval and the Wild Women just needed to carry on as they were and hang on for another 20 minutes to bring their season to a winning conclusion.

Having managed to keep penalty free during the first two periods, it all began to go wrong in the third as the clock ticked down and the game began to get niggly. Leeds pushed forward in an attempt to force an equaliser and Widnes were forced into conceding penalties to keep them at bay.

The game changing moment came when the Wild women were 35 seconds into a slashing call and Leeds were able to make the most of their player advantage to level the score with 12 minutes still to play. This gave the Roses a huge boost and they went on to take the lead 3 minutes later.

The Wild women pushed hard to try and find a way back into the game but they were unable to make any headway against the stubborn Leeds defence in the last 10 minutes and the game ended in a narrow 2-3 victory for the visitors.

The Wild Women’s Most Valuable Player awards for this season have been sponsored by Lucy London - Poet In Residence for the 5th year in a row and consist of goodie bags containing a limited edition MVP teddy bear and a selection of Body Shop products provided by Running Mum Beauty. The awards were presented by match volunteer Colin Ellis and went to Emma Allender for Leeds and Laura Marcroft for Widnes.

*****

The Wild Women finish the season in a mid-table position in WNIHL Division 2 North.  Their final placing is not yet confirmed as other teams still have games left to play.

There is also the situation regarding two unresolved away games - at Grimsby and Hull – which were supposed to be re-arranged but have not been due to ice availability issues. The League Management Committee will make a decision on these games and allocate league points accordingly.


Match Report: Connah's Quay Cobras 5 - Shropshire Huskies 6 (PS) - Challenge Match


Saturday 11th May 2024 - Challenge Match:  Connah's Quay Cobras 5 - Shropshire Huskies 6 (PS)

The Connah’s Quay Cobras put in a battling performance in their Challenge Match against the Shropshire Huskies at Deeside Leisure Centre on Saturday, drawing 5-5 in normal time before losing out on a Penalty Shootout for the second time in successive games.

The Cobras opened the scoring in the 7th minute with a goal from Martin Rybka but the visitors hit back with two goals of their own to lead 1-2 at the first period break. 

Shropshire further extended their lead with the only goal in a tight second period, on 35 minutes and then went 1-4 ahead with another strike 3 minutes into the third period.

This seemed to gee up the Cobras a bit and two unanswered goals quickly followed from Rybka to complete his hat-trick for the game and drag the home side back to within one goal on the Huskies.  The fightback was completed when a goal from Mike Filek drew the two sides level with 10 minutes left to play.

Connah’s Quay edged back into the lead when Brad Commins fired in with just 2 ½ minutes left on the clock but the Cobras were denied a hard-earned victory by a late goal from the Huskies, which tied the score at 5-5. A Penalty Shootout was then held to decide an overall winner and this went the way of the Huskies by 2 strikes to 1.

A group of visitors from the charity Conwy Connect were VIP guests at Saturday’s game.  The Charity helps promote the rights of people with a learning disability living in North Wales and they have a special Sing and Sign Choir which incorporates Makaton signing language into their musical  performances.

In the run up to the game, the Cobras players learned some basic Makaton signs and worked with the charity to produce a joint music video performing the Guns N Roses song “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, which was then played in public for the first time on the big screen at the ice rink during the match.

The Connah’s Quay Cobras are next in action on Sunday 26th May when they take on rink-rivals Flintshire Phantoms in the Summer Classic Cup at Deeside Leisure.  The game faces off at 8.30pm and admission is free for all spectators.


Tuesday 7 May 2024

Match Report: Connah’s Quay Cobras 6 – Newcastle Predators 7 (PS) – Summer Classic Cup

Connah's Quay Cobras and Newcastle Predators played out a thrilling draw in the Summer Classic Cup (Photo by James New / @snapshotdev)

Sunday 5th May 2024 – Summer Classic Cup: Connah’s Quay Cobras 6 – Newcastle Predators 7 (PS)

The Connah’s Quay Cobras played out a highly entertaining 6-6 draw before losing out in a dramatic penalty shoot out to the Newcastle Predators in the Summer Classic Cup at Deeside Leisure Centre on Sunday.

The Cobras had been unbeaten in the competition so far and the Predators arrived from the North East with a similar record, so this was always going to be an extremely close game.

The visitors were quickest out of the blocks and opened the scoring just 90 seconds into the game. They were 0-2 up by the time former Deeside Dragons NIHL player Chris Keating found the back of the net for the Cobras but then two more goals late in the period saw the Predators leading 1-4 at the first interval.

A fifth goal in the 24th minute looked to have put the Newcastle team well in control but a second goal from Keating shortly after that and a strike from Martin Rybka on 26 minutes narrowed the deficit.  Despite numerous chances for both teams, the rest of the second period played out goal-less and the score stood at a tantalisingly close 3-5 with 20 minutes left to play.

The Predators scored again early in the third period to make the score 3-6 but the Cobras were far from finished and began to fight back.  A hat-trick goal from Keating just 59 seconds later narrowed the gap and three minutes after that he scored his fourth goal of the game to cut the Newcastle lead down to just 1 goal.

Former Deeside Dragon Chris Keating
scored 4 goals against the Predators
(photo by James New / @snapshotdev) 
The Cobras put the Predators goal under immense pressure in the closing stages  – outshooting them by 15–4 in the period – and they were rewarded with an equalising powerplay goal from Rybka with just 86 seconds left.   Had the game gone on for another 5 minutes, Connah’s Quay might have gone on to snatch a late winner but time ran out and the match finished as a 6-6 draw.

The result was then decided by a tense penalty shoot out, which went the way of the visitors.  That means that the Predators take the two points for the win while the Cobras get one point for an Overtime Loss.

The Cobras are in action again this Saturday 11th May then they take on the Shropshire Huskies in a challenge match at Deeside Leisure Centre, 4.30m face off.

The game will have guests from the charity Conwy Connect, who help promote the rights of people with a learning disability living in North Wales. 

Admission is free for all spectators. 


Widnes Wild Academy Round Up - 4th & 5th May


The Widnes Wild Academy rounded off the regular junior league season with three wins and one defeat from the four competitive games that were played at the weekend.

The Under 16 team beat Leeds Under 16s 4-1 at Planet Ice Widnes on Saturday while the Under 18B team lost 3-6, also to Leeds.

On Sunday, the Under 18B team beat Sutton Sting 5-4 and the Under 10 team hosted a 4-team cross ice tournament.  The Under 12s won 0-8 away at Coventry on the same day.

The Wild Under 12 team have finished in second place in the U12s league and have qualified for the Play Offs, which are being held this weekend at Sheffield. They will play round robin group games against Leeds and Guildford on Saturday and Streatham on Sunday. 


Monday 6 May 2024

Halton Huskies in 20 Goal Thriller

Dave Priestley (#70) found the back of the net in the 10 -10 draw at Blackburn (Photo by Lydia Turner / lydiaturnerphotography.co.uk )


Saturday 4th May 2024 – Challenge Match: Blackburn Renegades 10 – Halton Huskies 10

The Halton Huskies played out a thrilling 10-10 draw in their Challenge Match against the Blackburn  Renegades away in East Lancashire on Saturday.

This was, overall, an excellent advertisement for recreational ice hockey with plenty of end to action, lots of goals and it was an especially spirited performance by the Huskies who found themselves up against a number of former league players in the Renegades team.

The first period alone saw seven goals – more than are often scored in total in a higher division game these days – and strikes from Jake Berry, Jack Davies and Matt Kohler ensured that the Huskies remained well in contention with their hosts with the score at 4-3 at the first break. 

Blackburn visibly upped their game in the second period and scored 4 unanswered goals to open up a 7-3 lead but then an extended powerplay on a fighting penalty gave the Huskies a 5 on 3 player advantage and they were able to pull back deficit with goals from Berry, Kohler and Reid Ryan to leave the score standing at a finely balanced 7-6 with one period left to play.

The Renegades scored early in the third period to briefly double their advantage but this was short lived as a dazzling spell from Halton saw them draw level - with hat-trick goals from both Kohler and Berry.  They then took the lead themselves with a strike from Dave Priestley and edged further ahead with a fourth goal of the night from Berry to lead 8-10. 

Blackburn were not finished, however, and fought back again to tie the game at 10-10.  Unfortunately, by this time, the game had over-run its allocated amount of ice time and had to be cut short with 4.40 remaining on the clock.

Talking afterwards, Huskies manager Ste Hay said:  “It was a standard game against a team from Blackburn - fiery and exciting throughout. I am looking forward to the return game on home ice.”

The Huskies are next in action on Saturday 25th May when they play the return game against the Renegades at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.15pm face off.  

Mayhem Sledge Weekend

Mayhem sledge team with sponsors Fletchers Solicitors (Photo by @haganovaphoto)

The Mayhem Sledge team are marking the start of the 2024 Para Ice Hockey season with a special weekend at the Planet Ice rink in Widnes on 18th & 19th May.

On Saturday 18th May from 4.15 to 8.15pm there is a 3v3 tournament with mixed squads made up of players from around the country competing in short format cross-ice games to decide an overall winner.

On the Sunday, there is a free taster session from 4.15 to 6.15pm where people can go along and give the sport a try, with equipment and guidance all provided, followed by a match between the Mayhem and the Great Britain women’s team. 

The whole weekend is free for spectators to go along and watch and anybody interested in taking part in the taster session is asked to contact the Mayhem team in advance via email to info@manchestermayhem.co.uk

The Mayhem’s first league game of the 2024 season is against the Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday 1st June at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.25pm face off. 


Wild Players To Take Part in Rob Craig Memorial Game


Widnes Wild players past and present will be joining players from many other clubs in this year’s Rob Craig memorial game which will be played this Sunday 12th May at Blackburn.

The game is played every year in memory of former Blackburn recreational player Rob Craig who took his own life in 2017 and aims to raise funds and awareness for mental health charities.  

Alongside Matty Barlow, it has been announced that former Widnes players Bobby Streetly and Adam Barnes, Calum Ruddick - all now with Blackburn Hawks - Kieran Brown, now captain of the Leeds Knights National Division team, and Mark Higson (Bradford Bulldogs) will also be playing in the memorial match.

Hawks player James Riddoch, Blackburn Head Coach Dominic Osman – a former Elite League player with Hull – and Manchester Storm’s Canadian import CJ Garcia are also due to play, and the bigger name players will be spread across two teams to ensure an entertaining and competitive game.

Event co-organiser Wez Spurett – himself a former General Manager of the Widnes Wild NIHL team - said: “It’s not just a game of hockey for us, we play against our friends all the time, but this started off as just trying to get our friends together and remember Rob and the underlying purpose of it was to make sure that we spread awareness about what happened with Rob and do anything we can to try and prevent that.”

The beneficiary of the 2024 Rob Craig Memorial game will be Andy’s Man Club – an organisation that started off in Halifax and now organises local groups across the country where men aged 18 and above can speak openly about their mental health in a judgement-free, non-clinical environment.

You can find out more about Andy’s Man Club and their local groups via their website at andysmanclub.co.uk.

Advance tickets for the game on 12th May are now on sale via the Planet Ice Blackburn ticketing website at £3 for adults  and £1 for Under 16s  HERE  – or you can pay on the door.    

Anybody who would like to help with sponsorship - or otherwise get involved with the event - is asked to contact the organisers at robcraigcharity@outlook.com


Wild Women Face Leeds in Pennine Derby

Natalie Buckles was the Wild Women’s MVP in their last match (Photo by Paul Breeze)

The DMUK Widnes Wild women’s team will be looking to end their season on a winning note when they play their last game of the season against Leeds Roses this Sunday 12th May at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.25pm face off.

Widnes had their slim outside chance of reaching the end of season play offs dashed when they only managed a draw in their previous home game against Sheffield Shadows while Leeds’ 6-2 defeat away to Telford at the weekend means they are now unable to qualify for the Sheffield finale weekend either.

However, both teams are jockeying for the mid-table positions in the league and, with all-important cross-Pennine pride at stake, there is still plenty to play for in Sunday’s game.