Saturday 18 March 2023

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