Tuesday 29 August 2023

Wild Women Add Firepower For New Season

Wild Women's Katie Fairclough in action at the 2023 Bristol Tournament (Photo by Flyfifer Photography)

The DMUK Widnes Wild women’s team have added some firepower to their roster for the new 2023/24 WNIHL season with the return of 3 more players from last season’s team.

Between them, Katie Fairclough, Preston Gennoe and Laura Marcroft notched up 37 goals and 25 assists in the Wild Women’s Division 2 North campaign, which saw them finish runners up in the final league table.

Katie Fairclough first joined the Wild in 2017 and will be back for her sixth season in Widnes colours.

She originally started off playing Roller Hockey and was a GB International in that sport before switching to playing on ice. Since taking up ice hockey, Katie has gained international honours at GB Women’s Under 18 level and was league title winner with the Wild women in 2020.

Last season, Fairclough was the Wild women’s second highest scorer with 20 goals and 12 assists  in 13 games and, overall, she has played 62 games for Widnes, scoring 29+20 with 71 penalty minutes. 

She also played 17 games for the Manchester University teams last season, scoring 11 goals and 2 assists.

Looking ahead to the new season, Fairclough said: “After the amazing season we just had, I’m looking forward to what should be another great season this year. While we narrowly missed out on promotion, I think we’re in with a good shot this year. It’s been great to see so many new players on the team, but at the same time we have a very strong base of well established players who can bring in the results at the same time as developing the newer members of the squad. I can’t wait to get back on the ice for the first game!” 

Preston Gennoe (Photo by Flyfifer Photography)

Preston Gennoe joined the Wild women for the 2021/22 season and is returning for her third  campaign.  She was the team’s top scorer in the Women’s Premier League that year and, in 26 games overall, has contributed 21 goals and 14 assists, with 32 penalty minutes.

Talking about her re-signing, Gennoe said: ““I’m feeling excited about the new season. It’s my 3rd season with the Wild and I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to play and progress with.”

Laura Marcroft (Photo by Flyfifer Photography)

Laura Marcroft has played for the Wild women for 4 seasons overall and was another member of the team that won the Division 1 North title in 2020.

Overall she has scored 5 goals and 9 assists in 53 games, picking up just 4 penalty minutes in that time and last season was her most productive to date in terms of points, as she scored 4+2 and was also awarded the Hardest Worker award by the coaches. 

Marcroft said of her return for the new season: I’m looking forward to the season ahead, to see how we can build on the last season as a team. Taking part in the playoffs was a huge boost for the team and for me as a player. I hope as a player I can continue to improve and contribute to some more goals this year. All in all, I am looking forward to the year ahead and what it will bring.”

Monday 28 August 2023

Armstrong Goes Wild For 11th Season

Ken Armstrong at the end of his 10th full season for the Wild back in April (Photo by Keith & Jenny Davies)

The Widnes Wild NIHL team had confirmed 5 more signings ahead of this weekend’s opening game of the 2023/24 NIHL season. 

Longest serving player Ken Armstrong has re-signed for what will be his 11th year with the club.  Armstrong played in the Wild’s very first game in 2013 and since then has made 294 appearances for Widnes, scoring a total of 28 goals, 28 assists and picked up 52 penalty minutes.

In his time with the Wild, Armstrong has won 1 Laidler Division league title, 3 Laidler Play Off titles, the North 21 Cup, the 2021 Division 1 National Championship, the 2021/22 Moralee Cup and the 2022/23 North West Challenge Cup. 

Talking about his return to the club for an 11th year, Armstrong said: 

“I’d like to thank Joey for wanting me back for another season with the Wild and giving me the chance to play with a great set of mates. If everyone plays the way Joey’s wanting us to play it should be another good season for the club and there’s no reason why we can’t add another trophy to the collection.” 

“The club has gone through lots of changes over the years, but it’s always been a great place to play hockey mostly because we’ve always had the same great fan base and a great set of volunteers that make a match night at Widnes one of the best in the league.”

Matty Barlow in action for the Wild (Photo by Geoff White)

Matty Barlow returns for his 4th season with the Wild off the back of his best season to date last year when he scored 11 goals and 20 assists in 37 games. In two separate stints at Widnes, Barlow has played 95 games in total, scoring 24+42 and picking up 91 penalty minutes. 

Matty is a two-time cup winner with the Wild, having been a member of the team that won the Moralee Cup in 2021/22 and the North West Cup last season.  He also has an international honour to his credit, after playing for the England Under 23 team in 2022.

Continuing with their policy of encouraging younger players, the Wild have also re-signed three promising up and coming talents from last season’s team.

Alex Mitchell and netminder Jake Lowndes are both on 2-way contracts with Laidler Division side Bradford Bulldogs, meaning that they will benefit from getting ice time when they are not playing for the Wild. 

Jake Meehan completes the trio of youngsters. He is the former Wild Academy Under 18s captain and was the first fully home grown Widnes trained player to ice for the Wild NIHL team.   

The Wild play their first game of the season this Sunday when they take on Laidler Division side Telford Tigers2 at Planet Ice Widnes, 5.30pm face off.  They have an away game against the same opposition the following Saturday and then start their Moralee Division league campaign on Sunday 17th September with a home game against Nottingham Lions

Sunday 27 August 2023

Georgia's Wild Charity Skydive

Georgia Weekes at the Charity Skydive (photo by Danny Davies)

Widnes Wild club director Georgia Weekes took to the skies last week to make a parachute jump in aid of Halton Haven Hospice, which is the Wild’s chosen charity for the year.

The jump – organised with Skydive Northwest in Morecambe - had originally been planned for 12th August but had to be postponed due to adverse weather conditions.

Georgia explained how the idea came about:  “I have always wanted to do a skydive and when our chosen charity Halton Haven asked us if we would be interested in taking part, it felt like the perfect opportunity! It was great to be able to not only tick something off the bucket list, but more importantly, be able to help raise funds for an amazing cause.” 

She described how it felt up in the air: “I thought I would be really nervous when it got to me being almost ready to jump out, but I was OK in the plane. When it came to jumping out, I was the first one out and didn’t have much time to think about it! The free falling part was a crazy feeling and really difficult to explain, but the main thing I remember thinking about was that I thought my goggles were going to fly off!” 

“Once the parachute was pulled, it was so silent in the air and the views below of Morecambe Bay and Grange-over-Sands were magnificent. It’s such a surreal feeling!”  

Photo by Steve Nolan / Skydive Northwest

 And having now achieved her objective, Georgia said:  “I’m so pleased that I decided to take part and I’m really grateful to all those who have sponsored us to help in raising funds for Halton Haven, it’s such an important cause. As for Skydiving, I think it’s a bit addictive! I now really want to give it another go as I feel like I didn’t quite manage to take it all in!”

If anybody would like to support Georgia’s impressive feat in aid of Halton Haven Hospice, they can make a donation via the event’s Just Giving page at:  https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ken-georgia-skydive 

Thursday 24 August 2023

Widnes Wild Women Announce First Signings

DMUK Widnes Wild women's netminder Stephanie Drinkwater  (Photo by Geoff White)

The DMUK Widnes Wild women’s team are back in training after a short summer break and preparations are well under way for the new 2023/24 WNIHL season, which starts in October.

Last season’s coaching team of Adam Lappin, Steve Furber and Thomas Horner are back for another season and are building a competitive team roster in the hope of improving on last season’s runners up spot in Division 2 North.

Two early signings to the team are returnees Stephanie Drinkwater and Vanessa Crickmore-Clarke, who have both been with the Wild team since it relocated to Widnes from Altrincham back in 2015.

Netminder Drinkwater has played over 100 competitive games in total – some 75 for Widnes – and was a member of the Wild women’s team that won the Division 1 North league title in the 2019/20 season to add the title she won at Altrincham in 2014/15.

She played in 9 games last season and ended up with a very impressive Save Percentage of 90.34%, a Goals Against Average of 2.88 and 1 shut out. 

Vanessa Crickmore-Clarke (Photo by David Law Photography)

Crickmore-Clarke is a highly experienced attacker turned defender who won 5 league titles with the Sunderland Scorpions in her native north east and then spent 9 seasons playing at Deeside and Altrincham before the move to Widnes.  

Like Drinkwater, she also won the Division 1 North title with Altrincham in 2014 and Widnes in 2020 and, in an impressive career to date, has played over 250 competitive games in total. She also played in 9 games last season, scoring 1 goal from her defensive position.

Talking about her return to the team, Vanessa said:  “I am really pleased to be re-signing with the Wild again and can’t wait to get back on the ice with the team. We had a successful 22/23 season for our league team, as well as the successful growth and progression of our development players and hopefully we’ll be in for a chance of reaching out for the silverware again.”

Monday 21 August 2023

Mayhem Players In International Call Up

Felicity Gregory in action for the Mayhem (photo by@haganovaphoto)

Mayhem Sledge hockey players Felicity Gregory and Peggy Assinck have received international call ups to take part in the Women’s World Challenge tournament in Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA at the end of the month.

Gregory will be icing for the Great Britain women’s para team while Canadian born Assinck will be playing for her own national side. Felicity will be in good company, however, as members of the Mayhem team staff are also accompanying the women’s GB team with Karl Nicholson travelling as assistant coach and Peter Hagan as Equipment Manager.

The tournament runs for 4 days from 31st August to 3rd September and features teams from the USA, Canada, as well as Team GB, plus a "World" representative team made up of players from Asia and Europe, with all teams playing each other once in a “round robin” group. 

Team USA won last year’s inaugural competition beating Canada 5-1 in the last game to finish with a 100% record from their 4 matches.

Left to right:  Peggy Assinck, Karl Nicholson and Peter Hagan (photos by @haganovaphoto)

Peter Hagan, who is the Mayhem’s Head Coach and General Manager said of the international selections:

“I’m so happy for Felicity to make the squad, she’s really grown this year with added responsibility of being an alternate captain for us at Mayhem. She’s a calming presence and established herself as a core player for us, so a great reward. We are obviously super proud of her.”

“Peggy is still representing Canada & her drive is still as strong as ever. She is a player that everyone looks up to and, having set up the GB women’s programme, she’s a huge supporter of the game globally as well as domestically too. Hopefully she has a bad game against GB!”

“Karl has been there, seen it all several times over, and has been a huge part of our coaching staff with Mayhem since it’s inception & translated it to the GB programmes. He’s a wealth of knowledge and will be a vital part of the coaching team as GB look to medal this tournament.” 

“I’m obviously hugely proud to be asked to join the off-ice team, anytime you get to represent your country is huge. I’m hoping I can help anyway I can and make some contribution in Green Bay.”

The full Great Britain squad for the 2023 Women’s World Challenge is:

Netminders - Susi Marguerite (Peterborough Phantoms), Jodi Hill (Cardiff Huskies)

Defence - Nik Terrell, Sarah Hope (Peterborough Phantoms), Alysha Atkinson (Peterborough Phantoms), Leanne Emmerson (Cardiff Huskies), Helen McGivern

Forwards - Emily McLean (Sheffield Steelkings), Stacey Quirk (Peterborough Phantoms), Dani Watts (Cardiff Huskies), Felicity Gregory (Mayhem), Shannon Couch (Cardiff Huskies), Freya Levy

Team Staff - Ian Offers (Head Coach), Karl Nicholson (Assistant Coach), Breanna Wagner (Assistant Coach), Louise Beresford (Assistant Coach), Pete Hagan (Equipment Manager).

British Para Ice Hockey League: Steelkings 16 - Mayhem 0


Megan McEvoy (#27) put in a plucky display as stand-in netminder for the Mayhem away at Sheffield (Photo by @haganovaphoto)

20th August 2023 - British Para Ice Hockey League: Sheffield Steelkings 16 – Mayhem 0

The Mayhem sledge team rounded off their 2023 British Para Ice Hockey League season with a 16-0 defeat away at high flying Sheffield Steelkings on Sunday.

While a defeat is always disappointing, this wasn’t particularly unexpected as the Mayhem team had been without a number of key players for the whole season and had already accepted that this campaign would be one of restructuring and giving experience to new players.

As it was, the depleted Mayhem squad travelled across the Pennines with only 6 team members, meaning that they were unable to make any line changes during the game and that everyone had to remain on the ice for the full 45 minutes’ playing time.  Plus regular netminder Darren Pomfret was unavailable and his place in goal was filled by Megan McEvoy as an emergency back up, who had to borrow some equipment from the host side.

In view of the fact that the host Sheffield team had two full lines to choose from – plus a backup netminder – it was no surprise that they were able to maintain player freshness throughout and ran away with the game.

The opening goal came with just 22 seconds on the clock and the score stood at 6-0 at the end of the first period. 7 more goals followed in the second period and 3 more in third but it was quite a testament to the plucky Mayhem side to “only” lose by the same margin that they had lost the previous home game against the Steelkings while playing with a fuller line up.

McEvoy – who hadn’t played in goal since she stood in for a game last season for the Mayhem  – put in an heroic display, facing 54 shots overall and keeping out 38 of them.    

Sunday’s result means that the Mayhem end the season with 8 defeats from their 8 games and finish bottom of the 5 team league. But plans are already in place for next season when they hope to bounce back better and stronger! 

Monday 14 August 2023

Last League Game Of Season For Mayhem

The Mayhem sledge team play the last game of their British Para Ice Hockey League season this Sunday 20th August when they travel away to play the Sheffield Steelkings at iceSheffield, 2.10pm face off.

It had been a difficult season for the Widnes-based team as they have been without key players and have lost all 7 of their league games so far. When they played the Sheffield team back in early July, they were beaten 0-16, so will certainly have a point to prove as they head over the Pennines this weekend.

The Mayhem’s record to date means that they are guaranteed a 5th place finish out of the 5 teams in the league and will miss taking part in the end of season play offs for the first time. The play offs will be held in Cardiff over the weekend of 14th & 15th October.

Sunday 13 August 2023

Huskies Win Semi But Lose Out In Play Off Final

Halton Netminder Adam Darbyshire picked up a shut out in the Huskies' 9-0 semi final win over Sheffield Ice Tigers (Photo by David Tatum / DJT Ice Hockey Photos)


report to follow (awaiting gamesheets...)

Tuesday 8 August 2023

10th Anniversary Of First Ever Widnes Wild Match

Ken Armstrong playing in the Widnes Wild's first ever game in August 2013 (Photo by Geoff White)

The Widnes Wild team played their first ever game ten years ago this week with a 1-6 challenge match defeat at home to Sheffield Spartans at the Silver Blades rink – as it was originally called - in Widnes on Sunday 11th August 2013.

In the intervening decade, the Wild senior NIHL team have played a grand total of 363 league, cup, play off, challenge and charity matches, winning 210 of them, losing 129, drawing 14 – and picking up 10 overtime losses for drawn games that were subsequently decided by a golden goal.

Over that time they have iced 133 different players who, between them, have clocked up 6102 appearances, scored 1704 goals, 2438 assists and picked up 6153 penalty minutes in the process.

The longest serving Wild player is Ken Armstrong who played in that first ever game and is the only player to have remained at Widnes for the whole of the 10 year period that they have been operating.  He is the club’s leading appearances holder with 294 at the end of the 2022/23 season – 2 ahead of Tom Jackson’s 292 – during which he has scored a total of 28 goals, 28 assists and picked up 52 penalty minutes. 

Looking back to that first Wild game, Armstrong said: “I don’t really remember much about the game apart from the rink being packed and the fans were crazy. I think a lot had come straight from the Vikings Rugby League game so were fairly tipsy. They didn’t really know much about hockey but seemed to be having fun. The first season went quite well for a new team. A lot of the lads already knew each other so it was good.”

The full team for the Wild’s historic first ever match against Sheffield Spartans was: Tom McDonald, Steve Gilmartin, Greg Ruxton, Dan Bracegirdle, Richard Charles, Kurtis Hall, Stewart Marriott, Calum Ruddick, Filip Supa, Ken Armstrong, Chris Preston, Troy Evans, Bobby Caunce, Craig Williams. Head Coach: Mark Gillingham, Asst Coach: Garry Fearon, Asst Coach: Peter Bleackley. 

Craig Williams (#88) scores the Wild's first ever goal in the
challenge match against Sheffield Spartans (Photo by Geoff White)

Now a successful match referee, Craig Williams scored the only Widnes goal of the game, 11 minutes in.  He said of that historic first ever Wild goal: “I remember thinking at the start, we are going to have to either get lucky or have a magic moment to get a goal against a well-established Division One team. It turns out that, with Chris Preston’s pass, we got the bit of magic and me being in the right place, finding just the netminder to beat we got a bit of luck. 

“I hit the blue line as the pass hit my stick, lucky the puck didn’t fly off into the corner, but the pass was well weighted, as I put my head up the keeper moved and my shot was instinct to go low as he moved high. This was a moment that will live with me forever.”

Richard Charles was the Wild's MVP in their first match
(Photo by Geoff White)

Former Dundee Rockets player and GB Under 16 international Richard Charles made a return to the game after a 15 year break, having been signed after the open player trials and was named the Wild’s first Most Valuable Player.

Looking back on that day, Charles said:  “I was awarded 'Man of the Match', which, of course, was a great honour for me. I assumed Craig Williams would have got it for scoring the first ever Widnes Wild goal - a great memory.”

“Mick Caunce, Mark Gillingham and Matt Lloyd had pulled together a very good group of lads in a very short time to get this team off the ground and I will be forever grateful for them giving an old timer like me the opportunity to be involved back then." 

“I still take great pride from my involvement with the club.”


Specialist publishers Ice Hockey Review have produced a book chronicling the Wild’s first 10 years as a club entitled “10 Years In the Wild”. It features a wealth of information including season by season summaries and player statistics, Full Player A to Z, Head to Head Records against other teams and a fascinating 10 year statistical round up.  

The book is packed with colour photos from the Wild’s first 10 years by long term official photographer Geoff White and is available by mail order from the publisher’s website at www.icehockeyreview.co.uk. 

For more information - and mail order links - CLICK HERE


As a tribute to all the players, coaches, team staff, off ice officials, match volunteers and fans who have been involved with the Widnes club over its first 10 years, we are pleased to make available our “unofficial” 10 year playing records for the Wild NIHL team available as a FREE DOWNLOAD HERE:

If you are interested in this sort of thing, you might like to consider buying the “10 Years In the Wild” book, which goes into a lot more detail.   

Wild Academy Under 10s Runners Up At Hull Tournament

The Widnes Wild Academy Under 10 team finished as runners up at the Hull Under 10s tournament after losing 1-0 in a close fought final.

In the group stage they beat  Leeds 2-1 and home side Kingston 11-1 and lost 2-3 to Billingham and 1-2 to the Southern Misfits representative team. They beat Leeds 1-0 in their semi final game and then narrowly lost out 0-1 to the Misfits in the final.

The Wild Academy are always keen to recruit new players across all age groups from Under 10 to Under 18 and are holding training sessions throughout the summer months at the Planet Ice rink in preparation for the new season.

Separate “Learn To Play” sessions are also available for anybody new who would like to take up the sport. For more information, contact Academy Head Coach mike.gilbert@wildacademy.co.uk

Monday 7 August 2023

Riverside Raiders Win Summer Classic Cup Play Offs

The Riverside Raiders celebrate winning the Summer Classic Cup Conference, League and Play Off treble at ice Sheffield (Photo by IHSC)

The Riverside Raiders secured a unique treble in this year’s Summer Classic Cup with a 7-2 victory in the Play Off final over Widnes rink-mates Halton Huskies at iceSheffield.

The weekend started off well for the Widnes-based teams as the Raiders – who had finished top of the Western Conference qualifying group – hammered Eastern Conference runners up Grimsby Falcons 21-7 in the first semi final.

The second semi final saw Halton Huskies beat home team and Eastern Conference winners Sheffield Ice Tigers 9-0 – with Adam Darbyshire putting in an impressive performance in goal to notch up a “shut out” – setting up an all-Widnes final on the Sunday.  

The weekend results meant that the Raiders completed their 2023 campaign with a 100% record, having won all 8 of their group and play off matches and securing the Western Conference, Development Division and Play Off titles. 

In the Elite Division Play Offs, held over the same weekend, Deeside–based Flintshire Phantoms lost 5-6 to Don Valley Vikings in their semi final, while Leeds Lightning won the other one 11-5 against Newcastle Predators. The final saw the Sheffield-based Vikings come from behind to beat Leeds 8-4, meaning that they also won their treble of Conference, League and Play Off for the season. 

Looking back at the Riverside Raiders’ achievements this season, team manger Mike Teinert said:

“This year, with practically a new set of players our aim was to get back into competitive hockey and to just have fun. This team has gelled so quickly to form a really close knit group and we wanted to go into the IHSC and enjoy our hockey and try to bring home the silverware.” 

“With a mixture of heavy fitness sessions and intensive gameplay sessions, our coaches have worked really hard to give is the edge in all aspects of the game and with an 8 game winning streak to take home all 3 trophies that hard work has certainly paid off. We're now planning and looking forward to the 2023/24 season.”

Mike Teinert (Photo by David Tattum / DJT Ice Hockey Photos)