Saturday 18 March 2023

2023 Laidler Play Off Finals To Be held At Planet Ice Widnes

The Planet Ice rink at Widnes has been selected to stage the Laidler Division play off finals over the weekend of 1st and 2nd April.

This is the 4th season time in a row that the Laidler end of season event has been held at the Widnes venue and it is the latest in a growing list of prestigious events to be held there – with the most recent being a 3-game series of international matches between the Great Britain women’s under16 team and their Norwegian counterparts in February.

The Widnes Wild team won the Laidler play off finals twice at Planet Ice Widnes back in 2018 and 2019 but, as they no longer play in that division, it means that the arena is now a perfect neutral venue for the 4–team event, and was also used to stage last season’s finals.

The two semi finals will be played on Saturday 1st April – face off times 4.15pm and 7.30pm – and the final will face off at 3.15pm on the Sunday.

The top four finishing teams in the Laidler Division table qualify for the semi finals and Hull Jets, Telford Tigers 2, Sutton Sting and Altrincham Aces have already secured the four slots. 

Tickets for the Laidler Play Off finals at Widnes cost £25 for adults, £15 for children and £20 for concessions for the weekend and can be booked online here:

Weekend tickets cover all three games over the weekend – ie both semi finals plus the final. An announcement on the availability of single day tickets for the final will be made on the day of the semi finals.

The Play Off finals event for the Wilkinson Division (South 2) will take place at Alexandra Palace the same weekend and the finals for the Moralee Division (North 1) and Britton Division (South1) will be held at Planet Ice Altrincham and Planet Ice Milton Keynes respectively the following, Easter, weekend 8th to 10th April.

Find out more HERE: 


The Widnes Wild team’s home tie in the Moralee Division play off quarter finals will be played at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday 2nd April. The face off time will be 7.15pm to accommodate the Laidler final, which will be played beforehand. 

North West Lions To Take Part in Czech Tournament

Chris Preston icing for the North West Lions team (Photo by Geoff White) 

Former Widnes Wild players Chris Preston and Josh Grocutt have been selected to play for the North West Lions representative team in an international tournament in the Czech Republic at the end of the month.

The tournament is being held at Benesov, on the outskirts of Prague, from 31st March to 2nd April and also features a team from the Netherlands, two each from Slovakia and Switzerland as well as 4 teams from the host nation, playing in two groups of 5.

The Lions’ schedule in Group A is (all times CET):

31st March: v HK Atlantis Zvolen (SVK), 9am 

31st March: v Kokory Foxes (CZ), 4pm

1st April: v HC AHL (CZ), 4.35pm 

2nd April: v  HC Jonny Lugano (CH), 9am

with semi finals and a final being played on the Sunday after the group stages have been completed.

Rather like the British Lions rugby union representative team, the North West Lions team was set up especially to play tournament matches abroad and, as its name suggests, comprises players taken from the north west rinks of Widnes, Deeside, Altrincham and Blackburn.

The full North West Lions squad for the Benesov tournament is Mike Welch (netminder), Adam Lappin, Thomas Quigley, Josh Grocutt, Marc Taylor (defence) and Andy Way, Adam Wrixon, Chris Preston, David McMullan, Chris Alker, Luke Stone (forwards).

Josh Grocutt made 10 appearances for Widnes Wild during the 2013/14 season, having previously played for Oxford City Stars and Solent & Gosport Sharks. He has since played with and coached recreational teams at Widnes. 

Chris Preston made 105 Wild appearances from 2013 to 2017, scoring 15 goals, 23 assists and accruing 105 penalty minutes.  He previously played for the Blackburn-based Lancashire Raptors and was more recently a junior coach and rec player at Blackburn.  

You can find out more about the Benesov tournament on the organiser's website at