|Widnes Wild Academy Under 16 team (Photo by Paul Breeze)
The Widnes Wild Junior Academy has had a busy season so far, with 6 separate teams operating in different age groups – at Under 18, 16, 14, 12 and 10 level.
The Wild Academy Under 18 A team are in 7th place in the 8-team U18 North Division 1 league table with - at the turn of the year - 1 win from 4 games. The sole victory to date came from a 3-4 win away at Manchester Storm
Their leading scorers are Luke Alston – who had also iced for the Wild NIHL team this season – and Cody Ogden, both with 6 points from 4 games.
The Wild Academy Under 18 B team are 7th in the 11-team U18 North Division 2 with 2 wins from 6 games, having beaten both Deeside and Grimsby at Planet Ice Widnes. Their highest scorer so far this season is Jared Knowles with 15 goals and 1 assist.
The Under 16 team are in 5th place in the 11-team U16 North Division 2 with 3 wins and 1 draw from 9 games. These have been home wins against Billingham and Nottingham, an away win at Sheffield and a draw at Billingham.
The Under 14 team are playing Division 2 North this season and are currently in 5th place in an 11-team league. They have 5 wins from 8 games and are unbeaten at home with victories over Billingham, Coventry and Deeside. On the road they have picked up away wins at Blackburn and Leeds and the only big defeat they have suffered all season was a 13-1 mauling away at runaway league leaders Kingston Sharks.
The Under 12 team sit proudly on top of the U12 North West Division hoping to defend the league title that they won last season.
They have 7 wins from their 9 games so far this season but are being stalked by second place Solihull who are unbeaten so far and have games in hand. Both of the Wild defeats have come at the hands of the Barons juniors – 0-8 at home and 9-1 away – so Widnes will be relying on other teams to knock the Midlanders off their stride in the second half of the season.
The Wild Academy also have an Under 10 team who don’t play in a league but take part in regular multi-team tournaments.
The Under 10s play shortened games in a “cross ice” format where they play across the width of the ice rink rather than skating the whole length – so as to focus more on developing skills such as puck control, positioning and passing.
Each cross-ice tournament involves 4 teams playing once against each other and each team hosts a number of these over the course of the season. Games are played for fun with no scores or player statistics being recorded.
After a short festive break, the Wild Academy teams return to action this Saturday 6th January when the Wild Academy Under 16 and Under 18B teams both have home games against Sheffield at Planet Ice Widnes, starting at 4.20pm. Admission is free for spectators. The Under 12s are away in Manchester the same day, face off 4.15pm
The Wild Academy are always keen to recruit new players across all age groups from Under 10 to Under 18 and hold training sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Planet Ice Widnes.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org