|Widnes Wild NIHL Head Coach Joey Coulter (Photo by Ste Cunningham / Shots By Ste)
The Widnes Wild NIHL club attracted negative headlines recently after they reportedly released two players - Calum Ruddick and Jack Murray - by text message.
The impersonal manner of their release was viewed by a number of observers as being insensitive and unprofessional and the decision was criticised by some fans, coming at a time when the team had been struggling in terms of consistency and manpower for certain matches.
Ruddick had been one of the Wild’s first ever signings when the team first started back in the summer of 2013 and, in two spells with the club, had made some 130 Widnes appearances. Jack Murray joined the Wild for the 2021/22 season and in the intervening two years has played over 80 games in the yellow and black.
No reason was made public for the dismissal of the two players but it is thought to concern dressing room morale issues.
Following the controversy, Wild Player Coach Joey Coulter said: “I can only apologise for the recent approach made in regards to the dismissal of Jack & Calum. It might be tough to believe from a distance that this came from a good place, but my intentions were pure and just lacked professionalism.”
“I have a lot of time for both players, I wanted them to have everything in writing, so nothing gets lost in translation with a sensitive subject and hopefully they could take the feedback on board if they were to join a new squad. Jack and Cal are good hockey players, I really didn’t want to make anything public about their release, or why, and hinder both players’ chances of finding a new team.”
“The way I conducted on this occasion shouldn’t reflect the club, I’m the youngest coach in the league and it has shown here, there’s more to the role than just hockey and I will learn from this.”
Meanwhile, Danny Davies – the Wild’s co-owner, added: “Whilst we are disappointed in the way this situation has been handled, we fully support Joey in his role as Head Coach. We have already reached out to both players personally, and we wish them the best of luck going forwards”