Monday 15 April 2024

Widnes Wild Academy Round Up – 13th / 14th April


The Widnes Wild Academy junior teams had a mixed weekend, winning one and losing two of the three games that were played across the age groups.

The Academy U14s lost 1-5 at home to Blackburn on Saturday at Planet Ice Widnes while the Under 18B team beat Nottingham 4-3. The Under 18A team lost 4-12 to Nottingham on Sunday.

This weekend sees the Wild Academy U16s at home to Sutton on Saturday 20th April at Planet Ice Widnes, starting at 4.20pm and the Under 18A team at home to Sheffield straight afterwards.  The Under 14s are at home to Hull on Sunday, 6,20pm face off while the Under 10s are away in Altrincham for a 4 team cross ice tournament.

Admission is free for all spectators to Wild Academy home games at Planet Ice Widnes and fans are encouraged to go along and support the stars of the future


Match Report: Connah’s Quay Cobras 12 – Blackburn Falcons 8 (Summer Classic Cup)

Captain Evan McKinney was the Cobras MVP against Blackburn

14th April 2024 – Summer Classic Cup: Connah’s Quay Cobras 12 – Blackburn Falcons 8

The Connah’s Quay Cobras maintained their position at the top of the Summer Classic Cup table with a hard-fought 12-8 win over Blackburn Falcons at Deeside Leisure Centre on Sunday.

The visitors took the lead in the 6th minute but the Cobras hit back with an equaliser from Slavomir Sykora two minutes later. A goal from Martin Rybka put the Cobras into the lead on 10 minutes and the score remained 2-1 at the first period break.

The Falcons equalised just 61 seconds into the second period and then retook the lead themselves with a third goal on 23 minutes.  Connah’s Quay levelled the scores again with a strike from Sam Plant but three more goals in a frantic few minutes saw Blackburn leading 3-6 at the mid point of the game.

The second period “goal-fest” continued with strikes from Cobras’ Louis Ellwood and Libor Krempasky to narrow the deficit to just 1 goal but Blackburn hit back with their 7th on 34 minutes.

The Cobras upped their game at this point and two unanswered goals – from Louie Bailey on 37 minutes and Rybka again on 38 – meant that the score was, remarkably, tied at 7-7 with one period left to play.

Connah’s Quay fired themselves back into the lead just 20 seconds into the third period with a goal  from Stewart Cutting and then two more goals from Rybka handed them a 10-7 lead heading into the  last 10 minutes.

A late rally saw another Blackburn strike on 52 minutes to keep things interesting, but goals from Martin Stolicny on 54 minutes and a 5th goal of the night from Rybka on 57 secured the victory for the Cobras.   

This was their third win out of three starts in this year’s competition so far and 10th win in a row overall. They lead the group table with 6 points from their 3 games,  ahead of Newcastle Predators who also have a 100% record with two wins from their two games to date.  

The Connah’s Quay team have another game this Sunday 21st April when they take on the Blackburn Buccaneers in a challenge match at Deeside Leisure Centre – 8.30pm face off.

They then return to Summer Classic Cup action on Sunday 5th May when they take on Newcastle Predators at home, also 8.30 face off.  Admission is free for spectators to all Cobras home games and they also offer a streaming service via their Facebook page for fans who aren’t able to attend in person.


Wild's Rhys Edwards In GB Call Up

Rhys Edwards in action for Widnes Wild (Photo by Steve Cunningham / Shots By Ste)

Widnes Wild NIHL team player Rhys Edwards has earned a last minute international call-up to play for the Great Britain Under 18 team at the World Championships in Poland this week.

The 17 year old had taken part in a series of selection games against France before Christmas and missed the cut for the final squad, but has now been given the opportunity to play after another player had to drop out.

He joins fellow Wild player Kyle Carruth in the squad who already has international experience, having played for the GB Under 18s last year in the World Champions in Serbia.

The GB team are playing in Division 2A of the IIHF Under 18 World Championships, which is the fourth tier of the competition.  The tournament is being held in Sosnowiec, Poland, from 17th to 23rd April with opposition from Croatia, Serbia, Romania and the Netherlands, as well as the host nation who were relegated from Division 1B last year and, as such, are expected to be favourites for the Gold Medal this time around.

Each team plays the others once each and the country that finishes top of the group will be promoted to Division 1B for the 2025 tournament. 


Widnes Wild NIHL Season Review

Player / Coach Joey Coulter was the Wild’s top points scorer for the season (Photo by Steve Cunningham / Shots By Ste)

With the NIHL North season now over, the Widnes Wild organisation will probably look back on the 2023/24 Moralee Division campaign with a certain air of disappointment.

While their fierce local rivals made significant progress this season – with Blackburn Hawks finishing 3rd in the league table and winning the Moralee Cup, Moralee Play Offs and M56 Cup, and Deeside Dragons also having a better season than many people might have expected with a 4th place finish - the Wild found themselves languishing in 7th place in the table, a distant 18 points adrift of 6th place Hull Jets, who were new boys in the division this year.

For a club that has got used to winning things on a regular basis – with a league title and three play off crowns during the Laidler period, two trophies during the Covid lockdown and a Moralee Cup and North West Cup in more recent seasons – it must be hoped that this year’s record of just 9 wins from their 32 league games (three of those coming as overtime wins over teams at the bottom of the table) and a terrible 9-match losing run at the tail end of the season is just a minor blip and that the good times will soon return.

To be completely fair, the Wild did pick up some early season victories over teams such as Whitley Bay, Solihull and Blackburn, which raised hopes of a promising mid-table tussle with those teams - and they also won 3 of their 6 meetings with fierce local rivals Deeside Dragons – but, the general trend saw results tailing off over the course of the season. 

Widnes did not have the best of luck during the season, either, and their form was affected by injuries to key players like Rhys Edwards, Matty Barlow, Andrew Hopkins and captain Tom Jackson. Summer signing Damarni James also missed 10 games when he was handed a lengthy ban for an incident in a match against his former club Blackburn early in the season.

But some of their problems have certainly been self-inflicted. There was the widely reported case of two long serving players being released by text message, which served to show the club in a bad light, and the over-reliance on players on two way contracts has been criticised by some Widnes fans as having an effect on the consistency of team selection over the course of the season. 

But credit where credit is due.  Despite missing a number of games due to injury, Matty Barlow ended up as the top goal scorer for the Wild in the Moralee Division with 13 goals from 25 games while player coach Joey Coulter  - who played in all 32 league games - finished as the Wild’s top overall points scorer with 7 goals and 24 assists.  

Adding in challenge matches, M56 Cup games and the Play Off Quarter finals as well, for a final total of 40 matches in all, Barlow actually finished the season with 17 goals overall – a tally that was matched by GB Under 18 international Kyle Carruth - of “Michigan Goal” fame – after he hit 4 of the Wild’s 6 goals in the two-legged play off quarter finals.

Honourable mentions for the season also go to Mikey Gilbert who contributed 12+20 in 39 games to finish third in the standings and Nathan Britton who – like Coulter - played in all 40 games and was stand in captain during Tom Jackson’s injury absences.

18 year old netminder Luca Tessadri topped the Wild goaltending standings for the season with a 4.39 Goals Against Average for the 20 games that he played in and he even had a goal credited to him – which is very unusual in ice hockey for a goalie.

Widnes also gave Moralee Division debuts to young netminders Logan Reid and Jake Lowndes over the course of the season.

*****

The NIHL season may be over for another year but there is still plenty of exciting ice hockey to be seen at Planet Ice Widnes over the coming months.

The Riverside Raiders are once again taking part in the Summer Classic Cup  and the Mayhem Sledge team are competing in the British Para Ice Hockey League.

The Halton Huskies have an interesting series of challenge games arranged against other recreational teams, with the first taking place against Sheffield Ice Tigers this Sunday 21st April – 4.15pm face off.


Mayhem Players At Para World Championships


Five members of the Widnes–based Mayhem sledge team are away in Norway this week with the Great Britain team taking part in the 2024 World Para Ice Hockey Championships.

Mark Colquitt, Karl Nicholson, Dean Lahan and Felicity Gregory, along with Canadian Peggy Assinck who is Head Coach are part of the 18-strong squad that is competing in Pool B of the championships in Skien from the 15th-20th April.

Great Britain are up against Norway and Germany, who were relegated from the A-Pool last year, as well as Sweden, Kazakhstan, and France in the six-team tournament. Each team plays the others for 5 games in all and the top two teams in the final group table will be promoted to the elite Pool A for next year’s World Championships.

The GB team hold their regular training sessions at the Planet Ice rink in Widnes and they were also able to have some extra sessions with the Sheffield Steelkings team prior to flying out to Norway.

Peggy Assinck said of the preparations: “We have had monthly camps leading up to the World Championships and last weekend’s was a great final camp where we were really able to bring all the hard work and training together. I am really pleased to see all our athletes working so hard to improve their skills and hockey knowledge on and off the ice. 

“We are looking strong going into the World Championship and the skill level of the entire group is improving, laying the foundation for both a sustainable programme for years to come and the ability to put a strong team forward at this year’s competition.”


Monday 8 April 2024

Widnes Wild Academy Round Up - 6th & 7th April


The Widnes Wild Academy junior teams had a successful weekend, winning two and drawing one of the three games that were played across the age groups.

The Under 12s beat Nottingham at home 8-0 at Planet ice Widnes on Saturday and the Under 14s drew 1-1 with their Lace City counterparts immediately afterwards. 

On Sunday, the Under 14s beat Leeds 8-1 at home and the Under 10 team hosted a 4-team cross ice tournament featuring Manchester, Deeside and Blackburn club. No match results or player statistics are recorded in Under 10s games.

The Under 16s game away at Deeside scheduled for Sunday was cancelled.

This weekend sees the Wild Academy U14s at home to Blackburn on Saturday 13th April at Planet Ice Widnes, starting at 4.20pm and the Under 18B team at home to Nottingham straight afterwards.  

Admission is free for all spectators to Wild Academy home games at Planet Ice Widnes and fans are encouraged to go along and support the stars of the future.


NIHL North Play Offs At Sheffield

Blackburn Hawks celebrate winning the Play Off title after beating Billingham Stars in the final.

The NIHL North Play Offs took place at iceSheffield at the weekend with the format reverting to that used in 2016 and 2017 where the semi finals and finals for both the Moralee Division and the Laidler Division were played at the same venue over the same weekend, thus providing a veritable end of season jamboree for 8 different teams and their supporters.

In the Moralee Play Off semi finals on Saturday, Billingham Stars beat Whitley Warriors 3-1 to reach the Sunday final with Blackburn Hawks beating Solihull Barons 5-4 to take the other berth.

The Hawks put in a superb performance in the final fighting back from 3-0 down against the league champions to tie the match 3-3 in normal time and then win the title on penalty shots, securing a cup and play off “double” for the season.  

The Laidler Play Offs saw a big shock when fourth place finishers Billingham Buccaneers beat league champions Telford 2-1 in the semi final and then went on to win the final, beating Sutton Sting on penalty shots. 


Saturday 6 April 2024

Match Report: Leeds Warriors v Halton Huskies Abandoned after 2 Periods (Challenge Match)

Halton Huskies team photo by @haganovaphoto

30th March 2024 – Challenge Match: Leeds Warriors 3 – Halton Huskies 4 (Match Abandoned)

The Halton Huskies team had their match away to Leeds Warriors abandoned after 40 minutes of play due to technical difficulties during the ice resurfacing between the second and third periods away at the Planet Ice rink in Leeds.

Although it was “only” a challenge match – as such friendly games are referred to in ice hockey – and with no league points or tournament positions at stake, it was disappointing for both teams as the game had been very closely fought and, standing at a finely poised 3-4, could easily have gone either way in the deciding third period.

Huskies team manager Stephen Hay said afterwards: “It was a close tough game. No goal seemed to go unanswered, resulting in a few good power plays and penalties.”

The Halton Huskies are next in action on Sunday 21st April when they take on the Sheffield Ice Tigers in a challenge match at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.15pm face off.


Tuesday 2 April 2024

King Ken Retires After 11 Years At Wild

Ken Armstrong leaves the ice after his last game for Widnes Wild (Photo by Keith & Jenny Davies)

The Widnes Wild NIHL team’s longest serving player, Ken Armstrong, has retired from playing competitive ice hockey after 11 years with the club, making his last appearance in the play off quarter final away at Solihull on Sunday.

Armstrong was one of the very first players to join the Wild when the team started back in 2013 and he took part in their very first game.  Since then he has notched up 327 appearances in Widnes colours, scoring 20 goals and 29 assists and picking up 56 penalty minutes.

“King” Ken played his junior hockey at Altrincham and then made some 80 English League appearances for the Lancashire Raptors and Blackburn Eagles teams before moving to join the, then, brand new Widnes set up. 

In his time at the Wild, Armstrong has helped the team win three Laidler play off titles (in 2017, 2018 & 2019), one league title (2019), the North 21 Cup (2021) the National Division 1 Championship (2021) and the Moralee Cup (2022), 

At the time of his retirement, Ken is the leading appearance holder for the Wild – 15 ahead of Tom Jackson, who has missed a number of games this season due to injury - and has always been a firm favourite among fellow players, team staff and fans. Aside from his obvious playing abilities, he has also acquired a cult status over the years for sitting out other players’ penalties.

In a fitting tribute, Ken was named Most Valuable Player for his final Wild match away at Solihull and was clapped off the ice afterwards by his team-mates and supporters of both sides.

Ken Armstrong playing in the Wild’s first ever game in August 2013 (Photo by Geoff White) and “multi-tasking” in the penalty box with a Planet Ice cafe pizza during the 2018 Laidler Play Off weekend (Photo by Vince Bullock).



Widnes Wild Academy Round Up - 30th/31st March


The Widnes Wild Academy junior teams had a mixed weekend, winning one and losing one of the two games that were played across the age groups.

The Under 16 team beat Leeds U16s 2-7 away on Saturday, while the Under 12 team narrowly lost 8-7 away to Sheffield.

This weekend sees the Wild Academy U12 and U14 teams both at home to Nottingham on Saturday 6th April at Planet Ice Widnes, starting at 4.20pm

The Under 16s are away to Deeside on Sunday 7th April – 6pm face off.

Admission is free for all spectators to Wild Academy home games at Planet Ice Widnes and fans are encouraged to go along and support the stars of the future.


Monday 1 April 2024

Match Report: Solihull Barons v Widnes Wild (Moralee Play Offs Q/F)

Harrison Walker in the Widnes goal against Solihull in the home leg of the Play Off Quarter Final (Photo by Keith & Jenny Davies)

Saturday 30th March – Moralee Play Offs QF: Widnes Wild 2 – Solihull Barons 5

Sunday 31st March – Moralee Play Offs QF: Solihull Barons 7 – Widnes Wild 4

The Widnes Wild NIHL team bowed out of the Moralee Play Offs at the quarter final stage after back to back defeats to Solihull Barons at the weekend, losing 2-5 at home on Saturday and 7-4 away on Sunday.

Having struggled all season long with consistency, and coming into the weekend on the back of a string of defeats, this two legged tie against the league runners up was always going to be a bit of an uphill struggle for the plucky Wild team and, in the end, despite some spirited performances, the results went the way of league form.   

In the home game on Saturday, Solihull took the lead in the 6th minute and the score remained 0-1 at the first period break.  Popular Wild enforcer Will Harper got into penalty trouble early in the second period and earned himself a 5 minutes plus game penalty for fighting. This meant that Widnes had to play a man down for a full 5 minutes and the ensuing Solihull pressure resulted in a powerplay goal for the visitors.

While the Wild weren’t playing badly, their chances on goal were few and far between and, when they did come, they weren’t able to take full advantage. Solihull outshot Widnes by a massive 26 to 3 in the second period and, were netminder Harrison Walker not in such fine form, the score would probably have been a lot higher than the 0-2 that it was at the second interval.

A third goal for Solihull three minutes into the third period – scored by former Widnes import Dani Haid – edged the Barons further ahead and then a second goal from the same player 4 minutes later effectively put the game out of the Wild’s reach. 

The Yellow Camp did eventually get something to cheer about in the 50th minute when Kyle Carruth scored the opening Widnes goal of the game and then Nathan Britton narrowed the deficit to just 2 with a strike on 57 minutes.

Any hopes of a late Widnes rally were dashed, however, as Solihull hit back with their 5th goal – a second of the night for Finnish player Filip Byf√§lt – just 24 seconds later, and that rounded off the scoring for the game. 

With a three-goal deficit to overcome in the away game on Sunday in order to have any chance of getting through to the semi finals, Widnes had to be quick out of the blocks and that is exactly what happened.

A goal from Kyle Carruth in the 4th minute of play fired the Wild into an early lead – a copy of the rare “Michigan” goal that he scored in a GB Under 18 international back in December - and the same player shocked the home crowd further into silence with a second strike just 21 seconds later.  

Solihull had most of the play in the first period, outshooting Widnes by 15 to 7, and this pressure eventually paid off with a Barons goal on 15 minutes.  The score remained Solihull 1 – Widnes 2 at the first period break (ie 6-4 on aggregate) and the Wild were clearly not giving up hope.

The second period saw much of the same with Solihull outshooting Widnes by a massive 25 to 6 but the next goal fell to the Wild when player coach Joey Coulter extended the lead to 1-3 on 27 minutes.

90 seconds later, Carruth fired in his hat-trick goal and, against all reasonable expectations, the Wild suddenly found themselves level on aggregate!

Solihull visibly upped their game after this and pulled a goal back on 31 minutes – edging themselves back into the lead over the two legs.

Just two minutes later, the Barons were awarded a rare penalty shot after the Moralee Division’s top goal scorer Niklas Ottoson was tripped on a breakaway, preventing a clear goalscoring opportunity. Logan Reid in the Widnes goal saved the resulting one-on-one attempt but the match referee wasn’t happy and ordered it to be retaken.  The second attempt was successful and Solihull pulled the score back to 3-4 on the night and 8-6 overall.

Solihull took control after this and two unanswered goals in the latter stages of the period saw them leading 5-4 at the second interval.

The third period saw Solihull once again outshoot the plucky Wild by 25 to 3 and they added two more goals to their tally on 50 and 52 minutes, including a hat trick strike for Ottoson.  Widnes were unable to find the back of the net again and the score finished 7-4 on the night to the Barons and 12-6 on aggregate.

Wild netminder Logan Reid deserves special credit for keeping out an impressive 58 of the 65 shots that he faced over the 60 minutes.

The weekend results mean that Widnes, sadly miss out on the Play Off finals weekend for the third season in a row, having also lost out to Solihull at the quarter final stage last season and Billingham Stars the year before. This will be disappointing for Wild fans of long standing who will recall that they qualified for the play off weekend every season prior to the Covid disruptions and won three titles in a row from 2017 to 2019. 

To be fair, that was - of course - in the lower Laidler Division (North 2) where the Wild were arguably a bigger fish in a smaller pond and where the top four finishers in the league automatically qualified for the finals weekend.  Playing in a higher division against superior opposition week in week out and then having to negotiate a quarter-final round seeded by league places does make qualification for the final four that bit more of a challenge.

The Moralee Play Off semi finals and final will take place at iceSheffield this Saturday and Sunday 6th and 7th April.

The other quarter final ties saw league champions Billingham Stars beat Nottingham Lions 10-1 over two legs, Blackburn Hawks beat Hull Jets 8-4 and Whitley Warriors beat Deeside Dragons 13-9. Billingham will play Whitley in the first semi final at 1pm on Saturday and Solihull take on Blackburn at 8pm.  


Sunday 31 March 2024

Match Report: Blackburn Falcons 4 – Connah’s Quay Cobras 8 (Summer Classic Cup)


The Connah’s Quay Cobras won their second game out of two so far in the Summer Classic Cup and picked up a huge scalp with a 4-8 victory away to Blackburn Falcons.

The Falcons are widely regarded as the top recreation team in the north west and, since their formation back in 1991 when they were originally set up as Blackburn’s official second team, have featured numerous future and former league players. Saturday’s game was no exception and the Falcons’ roster boasted an impressive number of former Raptors, Eagles and Hawks 2 NIHL players.

The Cobras, in contrast, have only been in existence for just over a year but have also assembled an impressive squad with a mixture of young local talent and their own band of ex-league stars.

The game started well for the Cobras and they opened the scoring in the third minute with a goal from Mike Filek.  The Falcons hit back to equalise just 16 seconds later but a strike from player coach Emma Dutton just 8 seconds after that put Connah’s Quay back in the lead and the score remained 1-2 at the first period break.

Blackburn equalised again two minutes into the second period and then went ahead with a third goal at the midway point of the game.  The Cobras upped their efforts at this point, however, and were rewarded with three unanswered goals in a dazzling 5 minute spell  – 2 from former Deeside Dragon Chris Keating and a second of the night from Dutton – to hand them a 3-5 lead at the second interval.

A sixth Connah’s Quay goal four minutes into the third period, scored by Louis Ellwood, looked to have put the Cobras well on their way to victory but Blackburn hit back once again to pull the margin back to 2 goals heading into the final 10 minutes of play.

The Cobras outshot the Falcons by over two to one in the last period and the pressure paid off as, with five minutes to go, former Slough Jet Stewart Cutting edged them further ahead and then Keating rounded off his hat trick with two minutes left on the clock.

The resulting 4-8 victory means that Cobras have now won 9 games in row in all and sit proudly top of the group in the Summer Classic Cup with a 100% record from their first two qualifying matches, having already beaten Flintshire Phantoms in their opening game.

The Connah’s Quay Cobras are next in action on Sunday 14th April when they take on the Blackburn Falcons in their next game in the Summer Classic Cup at Deeside Leisure Centre, 8.30pm face off.  Admission is free for all spectators.   


Thursday 28 March 2024

Connah's Quay Cobras To Play Blackburn Falcons in Summer Classic Cup


The Connah’s Quay Cobras face their toughest test to date this Saturday 30th March as they travel to East Lancashire to face the Blackburn Falcons in the Summer Classic Cup this Saturday 30th March – face off 4.30pm.

The Cobras trounced Deeside rink-mates Flintshire Phantoms 3-12 in their opening game of the cup campaign back in January but the Falcons are likely to provide sterner opposition. 

The Falcons are widely acknowledged as being the top recreational team in the north west and were, in fact, originally set up as the official Blackburn second team when the rink first opened back in 1991. They have won numerous trophies and tournaments over the years and have provided an opportunity for former league players to continue playing at a relaxed but competitive level. 

However, the Cobras – who have only been in existence for just over a year - have built up their own impressive roster with a blend of young local talent and players with NIHL experience and they travel to Blackburn on the back of 8 consecutive victories, so Saturday’s game will be a fascinating test of the “old hands” versus the “new kids on the block”. 

The Cobras Summer Classic Cup game away to Blackburn Falcons takes place this Saturday 30th March at Blackburn Arena, face off 4.30pm. 


Monday 25 March 2024

Match Report: Deeside Dragons 6 – Widnes Wild 1 (Moralee Division)

Jake Lowndes played his first full game in goal for Widnes – photo by Peter Sheffield / PSD Images

The Widnes Wild NIHL team rounded off their regular season league schedule with a 6-1 defeat away to Deeside Dragons on Sunday evening.

The prospect of finishing off the season with back to back derby games against local rivals Blackburn and Deeside might have looked quite appealing when the fixture list was being put together back in August but it has all become a bit of a nightmare for the Wild as they now find themselves on the wrong end of a 7-game losing streak.

They actually put up a good fight against the Dragons – at some times literally – but were unable to make the most of their chances when they arrived.

It took until the 5th minute of the game for the first goal and that fell to Deeside, who doubled their advantage on 13 minutes to take a 2-0 lead into the first period break.

A third Deeside goal on 25 minutes was followed by a fourth and the Dragons looked well in control by this stage. However, the home side started to pick up niggly penalties and Widnes had a number of powerplay opportunities - including a brief 5-on-3.  Unfortunately, they were unable to make any of them count and Deeside further extended their lead with a 5th goal on 36 minutes.

Former Wild player, now Dragon, Joe Greaves picked up a 5+game penalty for an incident at the end of the 2nd period and this handed the Wild a 5 minute powerplay at the start of the third but, here again, they were unable to make the extra man advantage count in front of goal.

The Widnes duck for the night was eventually broken 42 seconds after the end of the powerplay when Jonathan Williamson fired in a Joey Coulter pass to finally give the travelling Wild fans something to cheer about.

Shortly after this, some pressure was relieved around the rink as a couple of skirmishes broke out on the ice, which resulted in Wild’s Kyle Carruth and Owen Rae and a couple of Dragons sitting out fighting penalties in the sin bin.  

The game calmed down again after this and the match edged towards its inevitable conclusion.  A 6th goal for Deeside on 56 minutes by former Wild import Jakub Hajek rounded off the scoring for the game.

Following the final weekend of games in the Moralee Division, the final positions in the league table have now been established and the pairings for the Play Off quarter finals are all confirmed.

Solihull Barons finish as runners up in the table after a 5-3 victory over Blackburn Hawks who have to be content with finishing 3rd.  Deeside Dragons finish in a highly creditable 4th place. This is important because the playoff quarter finals match up the team finishing 1st with the team finishing 8th, 2nd playing 7th, 3rd playing 6th and 4th playing 5th.

With Widnes having finished in 7th place in the final Moralee Division table, they will now take on Solihull Barons in the quarter final which will be played over two legs this weekend – Saturday and Sunday 30th and 31st March.  The winners of the 4 quarter final ties will qualify for the Finals Weekend that is to be held at iceSheffield over the weekend of 6th and 7th April.


Match Report: DMUK Widnes Wild Women 1 – Telford Wrekin Raiders 5 (WNIHL Div2 N)

Karyn Cooper was the Wild women’s MVP against Telford – photo by Paul Breeze 

The DMUK Widnes Wild women’s team suffered a 1-5 defeat at the hands of play off contenders Telford Wrekin Raiders at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.

Following on from their comprehensive 3-15 away victory over Whitley Bay in their previous game, there were hopes that the Wild women might be able to launch a late charge to qualify for the play offs themselves but Telford proved to be a much tougher challenge altogether.  

The game saw home debuts for Charlotte McAdam and Eleanor Johnson but Widnes were missing a couple of regular players and had to juggle their usual lines, meaning that it took them a while to get going.

Telford scored the first goal mid-way through the first period and then added a second on 17 minutes, taking full advantage of a powerplay for a Wild penalty. The score remained 0-2 to the Raiders at the first period break but, with them having outshot Widnes by 6 to 18, it could have been worse had Stephanie Drinkwater not been on form in the Wild goal.

The second period saw a tighter Widnes defensive performance and, while they were still heavily outshot, the resulting 0-0 period score gave rise to hopes that there might be a late rally in the final 30 minutes of play.

These hopes were dashed by a third Telford goal just 55 seconds into the period – before incoming netminder Ellie Green had time to settle – and further goals on 42 and 44 minutes put the game well beyond Widnes’ reach.

The Wild breakthrough finally came with 45.33 on the clock when Widnes captain Charlotte Cramp slotted the puck past the Telford netminder, rounding off the scoring for the game.

The Wild Women’s Most Valuable Player awards for this season have been sponsored by Lucy London - Poet In Residence for the 5th year in a row and consist of goodie bags containing a limited edition MVP teddy bear and a selection of Body Shop products provided by Running Mum Beauty. The awards were presented by match volunteer Fiona Tyrer and went to Rebecca Craig for Telford and Karyn Cooper for Widnes.

The 1-5 result means that Telford remain in a good position to challenge for a top two spot and a place in the end of season play offs while Widnes look resigned to battling for the mid-table places.

The Wild women have two more home games left to play and await a league management decision regarding two outstanding away games for which no suitable replay date has been found.

The Wild Women are next in action on Sunday 28th April when they take on Sheffield Shadows at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.25pm face off.


Widnes Wild Academy Round Up - 23rd March

The Wild Academy juniors show support for World Down Syndrome day at their training session – photo by Widnes Wild Academy

The Widnes Wild Academy junior teams had a mixed weekend, winning one and losing one of the two games that were played across the age groups.

The Under 16 team beat Coventry U16s 6-3 at Planet Ice Widnes on Saturday, while the Under 18B team lost 4-8 to their Coventry counterparts straight afterwards.

This weekend sees Wild Academy Under 12 team away in Sheffield on Saturday 30th March – 2.35pm face off – and the Under 16s away in Leeds the same day, starting at 4.20pm.

The next home ice action for the Wild Academy teams is the weekend after when the U12s and U14s are both at home to Nottingham on Saturday 6th April at Planet Ice Widnes, starting at 4.20pm

Admission is free for all spectators to Wild Academy home games at Planet Ice Widnes and fans are encouraged to go along and support the stars of the future.

*****

The Wild Academy players showed their support for World Down Syndrome day last week by wearing odd coloured socks at their training session on 21st March.


Monday 18 March 2024

Match Preview: DMUK Widnes Wild Women at Home to Telford

DMUK Widnes Wild womens’ team (photo by Wil Evans)

The DMUK Widnes Wild women’s team are back in home action this Sunday 24th March when they take on the Telford Wrekin Raiders at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.25pm face off.

Because of the way that the fixture list has worked out this season, it is their first game since the beginning of February and morale in the camp is high following the women’s 3-15 trouncing of Whitley Bay Beacons in their away trip to the North East in their last game.

That was the Wild’s first away win of the season and, with an impressive 11 different players getting on the scoresheet, was good preparation for Sunday’s visit of Telford who are likely to offer stronger opposition.

The Raiders have been perennial title challengers in recent seasons but, this year - as with the Wild women – find themselves stuck in an uncharacteristic mid-table position.  Again, like the Wild women they have been narrowly beaten home and away by runaway league Caledonia Steel Queens, but they have won their last two games – at home against both Kingston and Sheffield - so may now feel that they are on a bit of a roll.

Both teams will be keen to improve on their current league positions so Sunday’s game is bound to be very fiercely contested.

*****

The Wild Women face a fixture backlog in the latter part of the season as they are waiting to hear about rearranging two away games.

The game away to Kingston Diamonds in Hull that was scheduled to be played on 27th January had to be postponed as the ice-time was required for the Hull Seahawks NIHL Cup semi final game that needed to be played on that particular weekend, and the game away at Grimsby on 24th February was abandoned after a home player got seriously injured during the first period.

The Women’s league season runs until the end of May and it is hoped that suitable dates can be arranged for both of these outstanding games to be played.


Widnes Wild Academy Round Up - 16th March


There was only one game for the Wild Academy at the weekend after the Under 18B team’s game away at Grimsby was cancelled. The Academy Under 14s narrowly lost 4-3 away to their Solihull counterparts on Saturday.

The Academy Under 10 team took part in a 4-team cross ice tournament at Deeside but those games are played purely for fun and scores are not recorded.

This weekend sees Wild Academy Under 16 and Under 18B teams take on their counterparts from Coventry at Planet Ice Widnes on Saturday 23rd March – starting from 4.20pm. 

The Under 12 team are away in Blackburn the same day, 5pm face off. 

Admission is free for all spectators to Wild Academy home games at Planet Ice Widnes and fans are encouraged to go along and support the stars of the future.


Match Report: Widnes Wild 4 – Deeside Dragons 5 (Moralee Division)

Flynn Massie was the Wild MVP against Deeside (photo by Steve Cunningham)

Sunday 17th March 2024 – Moralee Division: Widnes Wild 4 – Deeside Dragons 5

The Widnes Wild NIHL team staged a battling fightback in their last home game of the regular season but narrowly lost out 4-5 to local rivals Deeside Dragons at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.

The game started badly for the Wild as the visitors took the lead on 4 minutes and then doubled the advantage just 20 seconds later.  8 minutes in, it was 0-3 to the Dragons as former Wild import Jakub Hajek scored a shorthanded goal and Widnes looked in serious trouble.  They were outshot by a massive 26 to 4 during this opening period but a combination of solid team defence and resilient netminding from Phil Pearson gradually came to grips with the onslaught and the score remained 0-3 at the first break.

The second period was a lot closer in terms of puck possession and shots on goal and it took until the 33rd minute for the next breakthrough.  This also fell Deeside’s way and they edged further ahead with another short handed goal to make the score 0-4. Widnes finally opened their own account on 35 minutes with a strike from Bailey Thomson and the score remained 1-4 at the second interval.

The third period saw the Wild visibly up their game and the home crowd responded creating a pressure cooker atmosphere around the packed rink. 

Deeside scored again on 45 minutes but Matty Barlow pulled a goal back for Widnes 30 seconds later and the fightback began.  Widnes outshot Deeside by 14 to 8 in this final period and the pressure eventually paid off and the Dragons started picking up niggly penalties.

Powerplay goals from Kyle Carruth on 49 minutes and Flynn Massie on 58 minutes pulled the Wild to within one goal but they ran out of time and the buzzer sounded with the score standing at a frustratingly close 4-5 to the visitors.

The result means that Widnes have set an unwanted record of losing 6 games in a row for the first time in their history, surpassing the 5 consecutive defeats earlier in the season and similar spells back in 2013 and 2019.

They will be keen to buck this unfortunate trend in their last game of the regular Moralee Division schedule this Sunday 24th March when they travel the short distance to North Wales to take on the Dragons again at Deeside Leisure Centre, 5.15pm face off.

Following Sunday’s league finale, the Wild will be in action in the quarter finals of the Moralee Play Offs the weekend after with home and away ties against whichever team finishes second in the league.  Depending on the outcome of the final league games this weekend, that will be either Blackburn Hawks - who are currently occupying the runners-up spot - or Solihull Barons.


Monday 11 March 2024

Wild Players In Football Match For Halton Haven Hospice

Matty Barlow (#20) in football action for Mersey Town FC in the charity game in aid of Halton Haven Hospice (Photo by Sharon McLean)

With the Wild not having a match at the weekend, Widnes NIHL team players Matty Barlow and Andrew Hopkins swapped ice for grass and took part in a charity football match in aid of Halton Haven Hospice.

The game was between Mersey Town FC - who are a good causes football club set up to raise money and awareness for local charities - and “Team O’Neill” put together by prolific local fundraiser Paul O'Neill,  and was played on Saturday at Parklands Sports Club in Widnes.  The football match was part of a family fun day in aid of the Hospice that also had children’s activities, a raffle and an auction of sporting collectibles.

The game was thoroughly entertaining and closely fought throughout, finishing in a 4-3 victory for Mersey Town FC. The goalscorers were Jon McEvoy (2), Matty Barlow and James Griffiths for Mersey Town FC and Carl Williams, Simon Atkinson and Joe Willcay for Team O’Neill.

Over £4.000 was raised for the Hospice on the day - with more money to come in - and there are a number of items still available to bid for in an online auction, which runs until the end of the month.

You can view the online auction items HERE   

Widnes Wild Qualify For Moralee Play Offs



The Widnes Wild NIHL team qualified for the Moralee Division end of season play offs at the weekend without even having to strike a puck.

The Wild need to finish in 8th place or better in the final league table to ensure post season hockey but that scenario was under threat from both Sheffield Scimitars and Nottingham Lions who were both trailing on points but had games in hand.  Had both teams secured maximum points from their remaining games, they could both have – mathematically – overtaken the Wild and taken the remaining playoff positions. 

However, results at the weekend went in Widnes’ favour with both the Scimitars and Lions losing their games, meaning that the Wild can no longer be overtaken for 7th place.

The match-ups for the play off quarter final ties are decided by final league positions with the team that ends up 1st playing the team that ends up 8th, 2nd v 7th and so on.

This means that Widnes will play whichever team finishes up as runners up in the Moralee Division – who are currently Solihull Barons, although they could still be overtaken for second spot by Blackburn Hawks who have more games yet to play to complete their regular season schedule.

The quarter-finals will be played over two legs – home and away – over the weekend of 30th /31st March, with the winners progressing to an NIHL North finals weekend in Sheffield on 6th and 7th April.

The timings for the quarter-final matches will be announced once the Wild’s opponents are confirmed.

The Wild play their last home game of the regular season this Sunday 17th March when they take on local rivals Deeside Dragons at Planet Ice Widnes, face off 5.30pm.


Widnes Wild Academy Round Up - 9th/10th March


The Widnes Wild Junior Academy had a mixed weekend with one win and two defeats from the three games played across the age groups. 

The Wild Academy Under 16 team won 4-7 away at Deeside on Saturday while the Under 18A team lost 0-4 at home to Manchester. On Sunday, the Under 18B team lost 10-2 away to Leeds U18s. 

This weekend sees the Wild Under 14 team away in Solihull on Saturday 16th March and the Under 18B team away in Grimsby the same day. Also on Saturday, the Academy Under 10 team play in a 4-team cross-ice tournament away at Deeside – 4.35pm start.

The next home action for the Wild Academy teams is on Saturday 23rd March when the Under16s and Under 18B team take on their counterparts from Coventry at Planet Ice Widnes – starting from 4.20pm.  

Admission is free for all spectators to Wild Academy home games at Planet Ice Widnes and fans are encouraged to go along and support the stars of the future.


Match Report: Whitley Bay Beacons 3 – DMUK Widnes Wild Women 15 (WNIHL Div2 N)

Ellen Tyrer scored a hat-trick at Whitley for the Wild women – photo by Wil Evans

Saturday 9th March 1014 – WNIHL Div2N: Whitley Bay Beacons 3 – DMUK Widnes Wild Women 15

The DMUK Widnes Wild women finally broke their road trip hoodoo with an emphatic 3-15 win away to Whitley Bay Beacons on Saturday.  

The Wild women had lost their first 4 away games of the season and then seen two more postponed or abandoned for various reasons, but everything fell into place for this potentially tricky visit to the North East.

Widnes took the lead with a goal from Katie Adshead on 3 minutes and then doubled the advantage with a Preston Gennoe strike just 40 seconds later.

Whitley hit back with two goals of their own to tie the score but further goals from Ellen Tyrer and Jennifer Hickey saw the Wild women leading 2-4 at the first period break.

Katie Fairclough edged the Wild further into the lead with a goal just 2 minutes into the second period and then the floodgates opened with 5 more unanswered goals – from Gennoe (2), Tyrer, Phoebe Patient and Tyrer again – to put the game well out of reach of the home side at 2-10 after 40 minutes of play.

The third period saw Widnes keep the pressure up and 5 more goals followed – from Fairclough (2) Sophie Hill (2, her first for the club) and Preston Gennoe for her fourth of the game.

The resulting 3-15 victory is the Wild women’s biggest win of the season so far and their highest score since their 15-2 home win over Kingston in March 2023.

They are next in action Sunday 24th March when they take on Telford Wrekin Raiders at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.25pm face off.


Monday 4 March 2024

Riverside Raiders Conquer Mt Snowdon

The Riverside Raiders team at the top of Mt Snowdon on their charity hike.

The Widnes based Riverside Raiders ice hockey team have hiked to the top of Mt Snowdon in aid of a mental health charity.

The Raiders had won the Summer Classic Cup competition twice in recent years but this was an altogether different type of challenge as they set out to conquer the 1085 meters of the highest mountain in England and Wales, battling against the wintry weather as well as the steep incline itself.

It is thought that this is the first time that an ice hockey team has undertaken  the walk –especially wearing full ice hockey gear - and Raiders coach Ben Donkin planned to go the whole way wearing ice hockey skates, which if you have ever tried walking in them, you will know is difficult enough on the flat surfaces around an ice rink, let alone on the rocky slopes of a mountain.

The idea came about the Raiders wanted to do something unusual and dramatic to mark their 10th anniversary as a club and also to support a worthy cause, so they decided to do the walk to help raise funds and awareness for the Rethink Mental Illness who are a charity that seek to improve the lives of people severely affected by mental illness through their networks of local groups and services, information and campaigns.

The walk to the top of the mountain and back down again took 6 hours to complete and coach Donkin managed to do the whole route in his skates. Afterwards he commented: 

“It was amazingly not as bad as I was expecting in skates.  An absolutely amazing effort by the boys. We smashed it - even in the snow”!

The Raiders had originally set themselves the target of raising £1000 for Rethink Mental Illness but have already doubled that through online donations and are keen to keep the tally rising.

For anybody who would like to sponsor the Raiders’ walk up Mount Snowdon, they have a justgiving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/team/dropthepuck

You can find out more about the Rethink Mental Illness charity on their website at www.rethink.org


Widnes Wild Academy Round Up - 2nd March


The Widnes Wild Junior Academy had a mixed weekend with two wins and two defeats from the four games played across the age groups. 

The Wild Academy Under 12 team beat Deeside Under 12s 4-1 away in North Wales on Saturday while the Under 14s narrowly lost out 2-1 away to the Dragons U14s.

On the same day, in a Widnes v Solihull double bill at Planet Ice Widnes, the Wild Academy Under 16s lost 3-4 and the Under 18B team won 10-2. 

This weekend sees the Wild Under 12 team away in Coventry on Saturday 9th March and the Under 18B team away in Leeds on Sunday 10th March.

The Under 16s are at home to Deeside on Saturday at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.20pm face off and the Under 18A team face Manchester straight afterwards.

Admission is free for all spectators to Wild Academy home games at Planet Ice Widnes and fans are encouraged to go along and support the stars of the future.


Match Report: Widnes Wild 3 - Blackburn Hawks 7 (Moralee Division)

Joey Coulter was the Wild MVP against Blackburn (photo by Steve Cunningham)

Sunday 3rd March – Moralee Division: Widnes Wild 3 - Blackburn Hawks 7

The Widnes Wild NIHL team had a disappointing weekend, suffering back to back defeats at the hands of north west rivals Blackburn Hawks - losing 10-3 away on Saturday and 3-7 at home at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday. 

The home game on Sunday saw a much grittier and determined performance from the Wild team but the end result still came out pretty much the same. Blackburn opened the scoring after 90 seconds and were, once again, 0-4 up by the end of the first period.

A fifth goal for the visitors just 64 seconds into the second period looked to have already put the game past the reach of the Wild but a powerplay strike by Owen Rae gave them some hope.

Widnes noticeably upped their game after this and were battling to reduce the deficit when they were caught out by another Blackburn goal on 31 minutes. 

A goal from Wild player coach Joey Coulter just 16 seconds after that pulled the score back to 6-2 but another Hawks strike two minutes later saw the visitors leading 2-7 at the second period break.

Widnes kept plugging away in the third period but Blackburn shut up shop and it took until the 54th minute before the Wild were rewarded with another goal for their efforts. This came from the stick of Damarni James – scoring against his former club – but was to be the last goal of the night and the match ended up as a 3-7 win for the Hawks. 

These weekend results mean that the Wild have now lost 5 games in a row for the second time this season – a sequence they will be keen to break with two games coming up against Deeside Dragons in the coming weeks.

They remain 7th in the Moralee Division table – a distant 12 points behind 6th place Hull Jets – but are not yet guaranteed a place in the end of season play offs and could still – mathematically, at least – be overtaken by Nottingham Lions or Sheffield Scimitars for that coveted top 8 spot.

The Wild NIHL team are without a game next weekend and are back in action on Sunday 17th March when they take on local rivals Deeside Dragons at Planet Ice Widnes, 5.30pm face off.

Following that, they play their last game of the regular season away to Deeside on Sunday 24th March, with two-legged quarter final ties in the Moralee Play Offs scheduled to take place the weekend after.


Match Report: Trafford Thunder 6 – Halton Huskies 5 (Challenge Match)

Nathan Hewitt opened the scoring for the Huskies away at Trafford (photo by David Tattum)

Saturday 2nd March 2024 – Challenge Match: Trafford Thunder 6 – Halton Huskies 5

The Halton Huskies put in a battling performance in their first match of the new recreational season but narrowly lost out 6-5 away to Trafford Thunder at Altrincham on Saturday.

The Huskies opened the scoring in the 4th minute with a goal from Nathan Hewitt and then doubled the lead with a Matt Kohler strike 3 minutes later

Trafford pulled a goal back just 23 seconds after that and then drew level on 12 minutes. A third goal for the hosts saw them take the lead with just 90 seconds to play in the first period and they led 3-2 at the first interval.

This was a very closely fought and entertaining encounter and, while the Huskies actually outshot their hosts by 2 to 1 over the course of the game, it was the Thunder that retained the narrow advantage  that they had carried over from the first period.

Trafford scored again on 28 minutes to lead 4-2 but the Huskies pulled a goal back through Edward Ridding at the half way mark. Halton then drew level on 37 minutes with a goal from Jon Lomax but the Thunder cancelled that out with a strike with 33 seconds left on the clock to lead 5-4 after 40 minutes of play.

The third period played out in similar vein with Trafford extending their lead again on 46 minutes and the Huskies pulling a goal back again through Jack Berry with a superb short-handed effort on 52 minutes. That rounded off the scoring for the game and the Thunder were able to hold on to record a narrow 6-5 victory.

The Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards went to former Altrincham Aces league netminder Aran Fox for Trafford – who kept out 55 of the 60 shots that he faced - and Jack Berry for Halton.

The Halton Huskies are next in action on Saturday 30th March when they travel across the Pennines to face the Leeds Warriors in a 9.45pm face off.

Further match dates are:

Sunday 21st April: home v Sheffield Ice Tigers

Saturday 4th May: away @ Blackburn Renegades

Saturday 25th May: home v Blackburn Renegades

Saturday 8th June: home v Manchester Swarm

Sunday 7th July: home v Bradford Cannibals

Saturday 3rd August: home v Leeds Warriors


Match Report: Blackburn Hawks 10 - Widnes Wild 3 (Moralee Division)


Photo by Luke Riley / lrileystudio

Saturday 2nd March – Moralee Division: Blackburn Hawks 10 – Widnes Wild 3 

The Widnes Wild NIHL team had a disappointing weekend, suffering back to back defeats at the hands of north west rivals Blackburn Hawks - losing 10-3 away on Saturday and 3-7 at home at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday. 

The Wild came into the weekend’s games on the back of a 3-match losing streak, while Blackburn were on a high following their 21-6 two leg demolition of league leaders Billingham Stars the previous weekend in the Moralee Cup final.

Unfortunately for Widnes, the away game on Saturday went pretty much to current form and Blackburn raced to a 4-0 lead by the first interval.

Widnes eventually found the back of the net themselves with a powerplay goal from Matty Barlow in the 23rd minute punishing a Blackburn interference call but the Hawks hit back 90 seconds later with a shorthanded goal to restore the 4-goal cushion.

Gregor Donaldson fired in his first ever goal for Widnes on 26 minutes to raise hopes of a Wild fightback but these were soon quashed by a disastrous spell that saw Blackburn score 4 more goals to lead 9-2 at the second interval.

The Hawks edged further ahead on 43 minutes with their 10th goal of the game and Matty Barlow scored his second of the night 53 seconds later for Widnes to round off the scoring.  Tempers boiled over after this as Bailey Thomson took exception to an overly robust challenge from former Wild player Calum Ruddick and was handed a 2+2 penalty for roughing plus a 10 minute misconduct call while Ruddick just got 2 minutes for roughing.



Monday 26 February 2024

Match Report: Connah's Quay Cobras 11 - Telford Spartans 1 (Challenge Match)

Cath Thornton was the Cobras' MVP against Telford  

Sunday 25th February – Challenge Match: Connah’s Quay Cobras 11 – Telford Spartans 1

The Connah’s Quay Cobras team notched up their 8th win in a row with an 11-1 victory over the Telford Spartans at Deeside Leisure Centre on Sunday night.

To be fair to both sides, it should be pointed out that this was a “development” game, rather than a “full on” competitive encounter, and the main aim was to give extra ice time to some of the less experienced players.  As such, the former league players on the Cobras’ roster did not play in this game and the taking part was far more important than the actual result.

For the record, Slavomir Sykora was the top points scorer for the Cobras in the game with 2 goals and 4 assists.  Ken Valyear weighed in with 1+4, Luke Wainwright 3+1 and Louis Ellwood 2+1.  The other Connah’s Quay goals came from Emma Dutton, Cath Thornton (her first Cobras goal) and Mike Filek, with Louie Bailey and Sam Plant both contributing assists.

Netminder Theo Coulson – playing his first game in goal for the Cobras and only his second game ever -  put in a solid display and turned away 9 out of the 10 shots that he faced over the 60 minutes. 

Talking about the game, Cobras’ coach Emma Dutton said:

“The sportsmanship shown from both sides was amazing, recognising huge individual achievements within the game as well as practicing plays and gaining experience.” 

“A real moment of joy was Cath’s first Cobras goal, which was cheered and celebrated by both teams equally.”


Widnes Wild Academy Round Up - 24th / 25th February


The Widnes Wild Junior Academy had a mixed weekend with one win and one defeat from their two away games. The Wild Academy Under 14 team won 0-8 away at Coventry on Saturday and the Under 18A team lost 10-2 at Leeds.

This weekend sees the Wild Under 12 and Under 14 teams both away at Deeside on Saturday 2nd March, with games starting at 4.30pm. The same day, the Wild Academy Under 16 team are at home to Solihull Under 16s at Planet Ice Widnes - 4.20pm face off – with the Under 18B team taking on their Solihull counterparts straight afterwards. 

Admission is free for all spectators to Wild Academy home games at Planet Ice Widnes and fans are encouraged to go along and support the stars of the future.


Match Report: Widnes Wild 3 - Sheffield Scimitars 9 (Moralee Division)

Jake Meehan was the Wild's MVP against Sheffield  (Photo by Steve Cunningham)

Sunday 25th February 2024 – Moralee Division: Widnes Wild 3 - Sheffield Scimitars 9

The Widnes Wild NIHL team slumped to their third defeat in a row with a 3-9 home drubbing at the hands of the league’s bottom team Sheffield Scimitars at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.

The visitors took the lead in the 4th minute and then doubled the advantage 3 minutes later. It took until 17 minutes into the period before the Wild finally found the back of the net themselves with a powerplay goal from Nathan Britton, who is standing in as team captain while regular skipper Tom Jackson is out injured. 

The second period was a disaster for the Wild as they were outshot by more than 2 to 1 and a string of niggly penalties hampered them from building up any sort of momentum. Four unanswered goals left them trailing 1-6 at the second break with a lot of catching up to do in the final 20 minutes.

A 7th goal for Sheffield just 11 seconds into the third period made the proverbial mountain to climb even higher for the Wild but, to their credit, their heads did not drop and they continued to battle away. 

The Widnes efforts were rewarded with a goal from Mikey Gilbert on 46 minutes and another from Will Harper just 80 seconds later to bring the score to 3-7 but that was as far as any late revival actually got.

Two more goals in the latter stages rounded off the scoring for Sheffield and handed the Scimitars only their 5th win of the league campaign.

The result leaves the Wild nervously looking over their shoulders in terms of league position as they are still not mathematically guaranteed a play off spot and have 4 tough games still to come.

They are next in action next weekend with back to back games against north west rivals Blackburn Hawks, away on Saturday and at home on Sunday at Planet Ice Widnes.     

The Hawks are sure to be on a high after demolishing league leaders Billingham Stars 21-6 over two legs last weekend in the final of the Moralee Cup (13-4, 2-8) and they still have a chance of overtaking Solihull Barons for the runner’s up spot in the league.  Widnes v Blackburn games are always very passionate and hard fought affairs and both teams will have a point to prove next weekend.

Following that, the Wild have another tantalising pair of derby games to look forward to - home and away against Deeside Dragons, who are also enjoying a better than expected season - to complete their regular Moralee Division schedule.  


Wild Women's Game At Grimsby Abandoned

Lucy Kirkham was stand-in netminder for the Wild Women at Grimsby (Photo by Anne Bennison) 

Saturday 24th February 2024 – WNIHL Div 2 N: Grimsby Wolves – DMUK Widnes Wild Women 

The DMUK Widnes Wild women’s team‘s game away at Grimsby was abandoned in the first period after a Wolves player suffered a broken ankle on the ice.

The home side were leading 4-1 at the time of the stoppage, although the Wild Women had travelled without a regular netminder and senior player Lucy Kirkham bravely took up the pads and played in goal. The sole Wild goal was scored by team captain Charlotte Cramp. 

There are hopes that the game will be rescheduled for a later date if a suitable ice time slot can be arranged at the Lincolnshire rink.

Widnes are away to Whitley Bay on Saturday 9th March and are next at home on Sunday 24th March when they take on the Telford Wrekin Raiders at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.25pm face off.


Mayhem Players in GB World ChampionshIp Call Up

Felicity Gregory and Mark Colquitt in action for the Mayhem (Photo by @haganovaphoto)

Four players from the Widnes–based Mayhem sledge team have been selected to play for the Great Britain national side at the 2024 World Para Ice Hockey Championships in Norway. 

Mark Colquitt, Karl Nicholson, Dean Lahan and Felicity Gregory will be part of the 18-strong squad that will compete in Pool B of the championships in Skien, Norway from the 15th-20th April.

Great Britain will go up against Norway and Germany, who were relegated from the A-Pool last year, as well as Sweden, Kazakhstan, and France in the six-team tournament.

Team GB Head Coach Peggy Assinck – who is also a Mayhem player – said: 

“I am looking forward to working with this skilled group of athletes this year as we prepare for the Pool B world championship. We have a nice mixture of four rookies making their GB team debut and several experienced veterans to round out the team. We’ve been working hard since last October’s tournament in Astana, and I’m looking forward to leading the team in Skien in April as we look to cement our B-Pool Team status.”

Mayhem team manager Peter Hagan said of the player call ups:

“Everyone at the Mayhem is so proud of those selected to GB for World Championships, especially looking at the GB squad. Mark & Karl are senior players with the national programme with Dean & Felicity building up their international experience which can only help both the mens & women’s teams. We all wish the team good luck & will be following them over in Norway.”

The Full GB squad is:

Netminders:

Bryan Hackworth – Sheffield Steelkings

Jodi Hill – Cardiff Huskies

Defence:

Damien Barker – Sheffield Steelkings

Shannon Couch – Cardiff Huskies

Mark Colquitt – Manchester Mayhem, 

Jonathon Le Galloudec – Cardiff Huskies

Paul Brown – Sheffield Steelkings

Felicity Gregory – Manchester Mayhem

Gary Farmer – Peterborough Phantoms


Forwards:

Callum Shakespeare – Peterborough Phantoms

Tyler Christopher – Cardiff Huskies

Karl Nicholson – Manchester Mayhem

Dani Czernuszka-Watts – Cardiff Huskies

Dean Lahan – Manchester Mayhem

Stacey Quirk – Peterborough Phantoms

John Mellor – Cape Breton Sledgehammers

Josh Davies – Cardiff Huskies

Ben O’Brien – Sheffield Steelkings


Reserves:

Netminder: Susi Rogers-Hartley (Peterborough Phantoms)

Defence: Leanne Emmerson (Cardiff Huskies), Jade Williams (Sheffield Steelkings), Gaz Lawton (Sheffield Steelkings)

Forwards: Dan May (Cardiff Huskies), Emily McLean (GB Women)


Team Staff:

Peggy Assinck – head coach

Patrick Assinck – assistant coach

Breanna Wagner – assistant coach / equipment

Lauren Bolger – sports therapist

Shirley Packwood – team manager / medic


Monday 19 February 2024

Wild Women Off To Grimsby

Preston Gennoe is the Wild women’s top scorer so far this season – photo by Flyfifer.

The DMUK Widnes Wild women’s travel to the Lincolnshire coast this Saturday 24th February when they take on the Grimsby Wolves, 13h10pm face off.

The Wild women have yet to win on their travels this season, having lost all 4 of their away games so far. The away game against strugglers Kingston Diamonds that had been scheduled for 27th January was postponed as the Humberside ice time wasn’t available so they will be looking for a win on Saturday to give their “stop-start” season a bit of a boost.

The Wild Women beat Grimsby 5-0 in the home meeting back in October and the Wolves have lost all of their 8 games to date this season. 

Widnes narrowly lost out 2-4 to league leaders Caledonia Steel Queens in their last game but were without a number of regular players due to illness.

Preston Gennoe scored 1 goal and 1 assist in that game to take over at the top of the Wild Women scoring standings for the season.  She now has 10 goals and 3 assists from 7 games while Katie Fairclough is in second place with 6+6.

Following Saturday’s game, Widnes are away to Whitley Bay on Saturday 9th March and are next at home on Sunday 24th March when they take on the Telford Wrekin Raiders at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.25pm face off.