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