Tuesday 23 July 2024

Deeside Ducks Sign Alfie Kelly


The Deeside Ducks have announced the signing of Alfie Kelly as part of their roster for the new NIHL season.

The 17 year old defenceman is a former Manchester junior and was captain of the Storm Under 18 team last season. He also made 22 appearances for the Altrincham Aces in the Laidler Division in what was his breakout senior season. 

Talking about his move westwards Kelly said:

“I am really grateful for the opportunity to come and play for the Deeside Ducks  and am looking forward to the coming season.”

“I am excited to work with the coaching group and within the pathway for juniors to progress into senior hockey.  I played for Altrincham Aces last season and gained some experiences in this league and I am keen to gain more here at Deeside.  I can’t wait to get started!”

James Parsons, Head Coach of the Deeside Juniors, said of Kelly:

“Alfie came to our open trials in June, and what stood out right away was his fantastic attitude and work ethic.”

“Alfie already has a good amount of games played in NIHL 2, which I feel will benefit the team as they enter their first season.Not only that, but Alfie will also get to train and play with our junior team. Welcome, Alfie!”

You can follow the progress of the new Deeside Ducks team as they prepare for their debut season in the NIHL Laidler Division on their Facebook page HERE

Monday 22 July 2024

Match Report: Solihull Vikings 16 – Connah’s Quay Cobras 1 (Challenge Match)


Sunday 21st July – Challenge Match: Solihull Vikings 16 – Connah’s Quay Cobras 1 

The Connah’s Quay Cobras slumped to an uncharacteristic 16-1 defeat away to the Solihull Vikings in a challenge match away in the West Midlands on Sunday evening. 

This was their first match since the middle of June as their last cup group game against Trafford Thunder – which had been scheduled for 14th July - had to be cancelled after the Altrincham-based side were unable to raise a team, and this game had been arranged to give the team a decent run out before the Summer Cup Play Offs in three weeks time.

When the two teams met at Deeside back in January, it was a very close game with the Cobras eventually winning 9-7. Sunday’s game was actually closer than the final scoreline suggests but the Cobras travelled with a short bench – just 10 skaters - and found themselves up against a very strong Solihull side. 

After a tense opening phase, the Vikings opened the scoring on 5 minutes and were leading 3-0 by the time Cobras’ Player / Coach Emma Dutton fired in a superb goal for the visitors. The score stood at 4-1 at the first period break, 9-1 at the second interval and the hosts ran away with the game with 7 more unanswered goals in the third period as the numerically inferior Cobras began to tire. 

The Cobras are next in action at the Summer Classic Cup Play Offs, which will be held in Sheffield over the weekend of 10th and 11th August. The full line-up is yet to be decided as there are group games still to be played and the semi final pairings depend on finishing positions in the two qualifying groups.  

Connah’s Quay are currently top of the Elite Group 1 with 13 points from their 8 games but could still be overtaken by Newcastle Predators who are 1 point behind in second place and play Trafford on 27th July in their final group match. The other group sees a three way tussle between Leeds Lightning, Don Valley Vikings and Grimsby Stormers for the other two semi final places.  


Sunday 21 July 2024

Mayhem To Face League Leaders.


Following two weekends without a game, the Mayhem sledge team are back in action this Sunday 28th July for their final home game of the 2024 British Para Ice Hockey league season at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.25pm face off.

The opponents are Cardiff Huskies who won the league title last season and currently lead the table again after a 5-1 victory over erstwhile league leaders Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday.

The Mayhem haven’t played Cardiff yet this season and they play them again in their final league game away in the Welsh Capital on 3rd August.

It has been announced that the end of season play offs will be held at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham over the weekend of 14th and 15th September. This is a new venue for the competition and, unlike previous seasons, offers the added advantage that it will not be a home rink for any of the participating teams.

The top four teams in the final league table will qualify for the play off weekend and, assuming that the format is the same as previous years,  there will be 4 games played over the two days. The two semi-finals will be played on the Saturday with the winners going through to the final on Sunday, to be preceded by a 3rd place play off match.

The Mayhem are already guaranteed a place in the play offs as Sheffield Steelstings – in 5th place - will not be able to overtake them in the league table, irrespective of the results of games left to play.

You can see up-to-date league standings, player statistics and match summary sheets for the 2024 sledge hockey season on our unofficial stats website HERE

And there's a round up of all of the weekend sledge hockey action HERE






Sledge Hockey Weekend Round-Up – 20th July



Cardiff Huskies moved to the top of the British Para Ice Hockey League table after a 5-1 win over erstwhile leaders Peterborough Phantoms in the Welsh capital on Saturday.

They got off to a flying start and were leading 3-0 after just 8 minutes with an early brace from Jon Le Galloudec and a strike from Tyler Christopher.  A goal-less second period gave the visitors some hope but a 4th goal for Cardiff on 38 minutes – from Paul Furber - and then a hat-trick strike from Le Galloudec ensured that the Huskies took the points.

Peterborough did manage a consolation goal from Gary Farmer but the result means that Cardiff leapfrog the Phantoms to take over at the top of the table.

This sets up a fascinating finale to the regular season as it leaves the top three teams in the table all on 8 points after Sheffield Steelkings beat their rinkmates, the Steelstings, 7-0 at iceSheffield, also on Saturday. 

The Steelkings made pretty easy work of their development team counterparts and took a 0-4 lead into the first interval with goals from Connor Grocock, Paul Brown, Bill Hardy and Jake Oakley.

Second period strikes from Oakley and Hardy and a third period goal from Rachel Paget rounded off the scoring and Kings netminder Matt Davis recorded a 6-shot shut out.

The outcome of the Sheffield derby means that the Steelstings are no longer able to catch Manchester Mayhem in 4th place in the league table and will miss out on the end of season play offs.

Next weekend sees two games of huge importance to the league title race with Peterborough Phantoms at home to the Sheffield Steelkings on Saturday 27th July – face off 4.25pm - and Manchester Mayhem entertaining Cardiff Huskies on Sunday – also 4.25pm face off.

You can see up-to-date league standings, player statistics and match summary sheets for the 2024 sledge hockey season on our unofficial stats website at:  https://www.mystatsonline.com/PBStats

 

It has been announced that the end of season play offs will be held at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham over the weekend of 14th and 15th September. This is a new venue for the competition and, unlike previous seasons, offers the added advantage that it will not be a home rink for any of the participating teams.

The top four teams in the final league table will qualify for the play off weekend and, assuming that it is the same format as in previous years,

There will be 4 games played over the two days. The two semi-finals will be played on the Saturday with the winners going through to the final on Sunday, to be preceded by a 3rd place play off match.

Saturday 20 July 2024

The 2024/25 Laidler Division Explained.


League Format

The Deeside Ducks will play in the Laidler Division (NIHL North 2) for the 2024/25 season. It will be a 10-team league and, in a departure from previous seasons, it will be split into two regional sections with 5 teams in each.

The Deeside Ducks will play in the same regional group as Altrincham Aces, Bradford Bulldogs, Coventry NIHL Blaze and Telford Tigers 2.

The other group will comprise: Billingham Buccaneers, Kingston (Hull) Sharks, Nottingham Lions 2, Sheffield Titans and Sutton Sting.

Each team will play the other teams from their own group twice home and twice away and the teams from the other group once home and once away for a 26 game league season.


Cup Competition

There will also be a Laidler Cup competition, with two qualifying groups of 5 teams each feeding into knockout semis and a final.

Rather than playing separate cup games for the qualifying stage, the first league meeting home and away between the participating teams will be counted towards the cup group table and this will decide who goes through to the latter stages.

 

Play Offs

The end of season Play Offs also have a change of format for this year. The top 8 teams in the final Laidler Division table will qualify for the Play Offs and two groups of four will play each other home away.

The top two finishers in each group will meet in 2 legged semi-finals played on a home and away basis.

The winners of the two semi finals will then meet in the Laidler Division Play Off final, which will be held as part of a bigger NIHL Finals Weekend – at a venue yet to be announced - over the weekend of 12th & 13th April 2025.

All four NIHL divisions – Moralee (North 1), Laidler (North 2), Britton (South 1) and Wilkinson (South 2) will have their respective play off finals held on the Saturday and the winners of each will meet in North v South national finals on the Sunday.

 

League Points

Another important development for the new season is the change in the allocation of points for league and cup qualifying tables.

In order to encourage teams to push for a win in regulation time, rather than hold out for a draw and overtime, 3 points will be awarded for a win in regular time for the 2024/25 season.

2 points will be awarded for a win in Overtime or by Penalty Shoot Out and 1 point for an OT / PS loss. A loss in regulation time will yield 0 points as before.

 

Imported Players

A further rule change sees the number of imported players allowed on the team roster for any one game reduced from three last season to two this season, and both being allowed on the ice at the same time.


You can follow the progress of the new Deeside Ducks team as they prepare for their debut season in the NIHL Laidler Division on their Facebook page HERE

Friday 19 July 2024

Mikey Gilbert Back In The Wild

Widnes Wild's Mikey Gilbert is back for his eighth season (Photo by Keith & Jenny Davies) 

The Widnes Wild team have announced that highly-rated forward Mikey Gilbert will be returning to the club for the forthcoming 2024/25 NIHL season.

This will be Gilbert’s eighth season at Widnes and, in his seven seasons to date – including the Covid lockdown cup series - he has played 199 games for the Wild, contributing 90 goals and 134 assists, picking up 204 penalty minutes. 

Mikey was a member of the Wild team that won three Laidler Play Off titles in a row in 2017,18 & 19, secured the Laidler Division league title in 2019, won the 2021 NIHL North Cup and Division 1 National Championship and the Moralee Cup in 2022.

He is also the General Manager at the Planet Ice rink in Widnes and head coach of the highly successful Wild Junior Academy.

Talking about Gilbert’s return for the Wild, Player-Coach Tom Jackson commented: 

“Mikey has come off arguably one of his better seasons playing in the Black and Yellow. He has been an obvious decision for me to bring back to the ranks of the team.” 

“I will be looking for him to help guide this team in the right direction and show his worth as the season unfolds as he has in different ways throughout his time with the Wild.”

“I will be leaning on Mikey for guidance with his experience and hoping he will be able to share his past experience with the local schools when we intend on bringing more fans to the sport of ice hockey in and around Widnes.”

Gilbert added: 

“Not long after Tom Jackson was announced (as head coach), he contacted me regarding my plans and that he wanted me as part of the team this coming season. It was a privilege to be asked to sign back up again and I was quick to respond with a yes.”

“The past couple of seasons haven't lived up to what we are used to as a club at Widnes, which was a given due to the step up in leagues. However, this is a challenge and as players and as a club we must challenge ourselves to do better and push each other to limits. If we became content with an easy life in the league below then we wouldn’t be doing things correctly.”

“It has been frustrating with how things have been going for us recently results wise, however that comes with a re-build and time just has to be given in order to get the change into results.”

“I hear lots of good things from TJ and the GM of the team which all build on those factors and more. I feel there are exciting times ahead and I am really looking forward to what the future brings and I am ready to battle once more for the Black and Yellow!”


Widnes Wild Academy Awards Evening

Widnes Wild Academy junior players and team staff at the Presentation Evening (Photo by Widnes Wild Academy)

The Widnes Wild Junior Academy recently held their end of season  presentation evening and the following awards were given out:

Under 10s 

  • Manager’s Player - Myles Ormiston
  • Most Improved - Zoja Skrinar
  • Attitude & Fair Play - Jan Skrinar
  • Coaches’ Player - Logan Dean Nicolls 
  • Players’ Player - Logan Dean Nicolls

 Under 12s

  • Manager’s Player - Poppy Ward
  • Most Improved - Stanley Shearn
  • Top Points - Caleb Eddleston (27 Goals, 7 Assists) 
  • Unsung Hero - Ethan Liversage
  • Coaches’ Player - Harrison Ward
  • Players’ Player - Caleb Eddleston

 Under 14s

  • Managers Player - Dan Teinert
  • Most Improved - Joey Abram
  • Top Points’ - Caleb Eddleston (46 Goals, 17 Assists) 
  • Unsung Hero - Ben Roberts
  • Coaches’ Player - Caleb Eddleston
  • Players’ Player - Ben Roberts

 Under 16s

  • Manager’s Player - Charlie Shearn
  • Most Improved - Alex Reid
  • Top Points - Austin Busby
  • Unsung Hero - Lewis Speare
  • Coaches’ Player - Austin Busby
  • Players’ Player - Lewis Speare

 Under 18s Div 2

  • Manager’s Player - Tristan Lewis
  • Most Improved - Harry Kay
  • Top Points - Jared Knowles
  • Unsung Hero - Reece O'Brien
  • Coaches Player - Jared Knowles
  • Players’ Player - Adam Vigh-Vecsey

 Under 18s Div 1

  • Manager’s Player - Porter Harrop
  • Most Improved - Brett Harper
  • Top Points - Luke Alston
  • Unsung Hero - Matthew Reid
  • Coaches’ Player - Gregor Donaldson
  • Players’ Player - Brett Harper

Vernon Neil Award (U10s, U12s & U14s) - A player who works hard at everything, spreads joy & happiness, huge enthusiasm towards the sport & an amazing attitude always! - Poppy Ward

Jon Little Recognition Award (U16s, U18s Div 1 & 2) - A player who is true to themselves, dedicated, shows integrity, is a role model, loves to help out and be on the ice and has made big steps in their progression - Shared Between Jared Knowles & Luke Alston

Paul O'Prey Award (Full Club) - A player who has shown excellence, competes for everything, strives to progress, gives it their all always, goes the extra mile and is charismatic. - Caleb Eddleston

The Wild Academy are looking to recruit new players for the 2024/2025 season across all age groups from Under 10 to Under 18 and have been holding a series of welcome sessions at the Planet Ice rink during the summer months. 

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


Kieran Clarkson Joins Deeside Ducks

Kieran Clarkson in action for the
Connah's Quay Cobras
(Photo by Mark Ray)
The Deeside Ducks have announced the signing of Kieran Clarkson as part of their roster for the new NIHL season.

The 22 year old defenceman is a former Deeside and Manchester junior and has also played 4 seasons of Laidler Division hockey for Altrincham Aces and Bradford Bulldogs.

In that time he has made some 70 competitive appearances at NIHL level and has most recently been playing for the Connah’s Quay Cobras recreational team.

Ducks Lead Coach Peter Bleackley said of Clarkson:

“Kieran started his hockey at Deeside and moved to Manchester. We have watched his career with interest and he was on our wanted list as soon as the D2 team was in its early stages. A solid player with a cool attitude, we are really glad for him to be playing at Deeside again.”

Talking about joining the Ducks, Kieran said: “I’m so glad to be back where it all started.  I’m looking forward to the new season and can’t wait to hit the ice with the team.”

You can follow the progress of the new Deeside Ducks team as they prepare for their debut season in the NIHL Laidler Division on their Facebook page HERE

Tuesday 16 July 2024

Deeside Ducks Sign Callum Preston

Callum Preston with his father – former Blackburn and Widnes player Chris Preston (Photo by Geoff White)

The Deeside Ducks have announced the signing of promising 17 year old netminder Callum Preston for the forthcoming Laidler Division season.

Callum is a former Widnes, Blackburn and Bradford junior and played last season for the Manchester Storm Under 18 team that finished 5th in EIHA Division 1 North.

He already has some NIHL level experience as he dressed for Widnes Wild as a back-up netminder for 4 Moralee Division games in the 2022/23 season and played a 20 minute shift in a North West Cup game, during which he achieved a 6-shot shut out.

Talking about joining the Ducks, Callum said:

“After 15 years of juniors and a handful of senior appearances under my belt, I am keen to make my step up to senior hockey full time. This is something everybody can look forward to and, of course, I have heard great things about the fans in Deeside.”

“I can’t wait to play in front of the crowds at this rink.  The team is fast approaching its inaugural season and I am honoured to be here for it.  With all eyes on the team being new to the league, I am excited to bring experience and energy and provide support wherever I can”.

Ducks Lead Coach Peter Bleackley said of Preston:

"I am excited to have Callum as one of our netminders this year. He started his journey playing U10’s back in Widnes in 2014 and stood out back then. I’ve followed his junior career and seen him go from strength to strength. He stood out in the trials and all the coaching staff immediately voiced their opinions that Callum was a solid choice for us between the pipes.”

You can follow the progress of the new Deeside Ducks team as they prepare for their debut season in the NIHL Laidler Division on their Facebook page HERE

Monday 15 July 2024

Widnes Wild NIHL Season Tickets On Sale


The Widnes Wild NIHL team have put their season tickets on sale for the 2024/25 Moralee Division season.

They are priced at £220 for adults, £195 for concessions and £140 for children and cover all 18 Moralee Division home games plus two pre-season friendly matches.

The season tickets don’t cover cup and play off games but holders will be able to book tickets for those games at a reduced rate.

As ever, season ticket holders will receive a number of benefits, these being: 

  • Seat reserved for all home games.
  • Exclusive voting rights in player of the month and end of season awards.
  • 10% discount in a selection of local stores
  • 10% off Wild merchandise
  • 20% ticket discount on all club organised events.
  • Discounted tickets on any non-included games

The club are offering an “earlybird” incentive with discounts on all season tickets purchased before the 31st July.  There is also the option to pay in three instalments - and further information can found on the sales website HERE

Saturday 13 July 2024

Andrew Hopkins Re-Signs For Widnes Wild

Andrew Hopkins receives the Wild Player Of The Month Award for March 20923 (Photo by Keith & Jenny Davies)

The Widnes Wild NIHL team have announced that Andrew Hopkins will be returning to the side for the forthcoming 2024/25 Moralee Division campaign.

Belfast born Hopkins previously played for the Belfast Giants U20s team and then had two NIHL seasons with Altrincham Aces before joining the Wild in the summer of 2022.

In his 2 seasons to date with the Wild, Hopkins has played 66 games in all competitions, scoring 10 goals and 15 assists, picking up 32 penalty minutes.

Talking about Hopkins’ return, Wild Player/Coach, Tom Jackson said: 

“I’m really happy to welcome Hoppy back for the 3rd season. He had a rough season last year with injuries so I’m looking forward to see him bounce back after having the off season to recover. Hoppy has the ability to score goals and works hard all over the ice so it was an easy decision for me to welcome him back!” 

Hopkins added: “I’m buzzing to be back playing for the Wild next season, after a fairly disappointing season last year personally due to a number of injuries. I’m grateful for TJ asking me to come back and looking forward to see him step up into the coaching role and take the club forward. I can’t wait to see the fans again, hopefully fill out the barn and build up what we had last year.”

*****

As part of their preparations for the 2024/25 Moralee Division season, the Wild are holding an open player trial at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday 14th July.

Players are required to arrive at 3.15pm to be ready to go in the ice 4.15.   Anybody who wants to take part is asked to contact gm@widneswild.co.uk in advance to register their interest.  

Immediately after the player trial, the Wild club are holding an open fans’ meeting at the rink where supporters will be able to ask new player coach Tom Jackson any questions they have.

The event starts at 5.30pm on Sunday with doors opening at 5pm so that fans can watch the last 15 minutes of the players trial session.


Widnes Wild Academy Under 10s Win Sheffield Tournament

The Widnes Wild Academy Under 10s celebrate winning the Sheffield Tournament for the second time (photo by Wild Academy)

The Widnes Wild Academy Under 10s team won the prestigious Sheffield Tournament for the second time in three years with an awesome goal-rich display at iceSheffield at the weekend.

They beat Solent 8-2, Peterborough Phantoms 21-0, Mini Samurai (Sheffield) 19-0, Sutton 10-3 and Milton Keynes 10-1 to finish top of the group table with a 100% record from their 5 games and a massive goal difference of +68.

They met second placed team Sutton again in the final and beat them 9-1 to secure the trophy.

The Wild Academy are looking to recruit new players for the 2024/2025 season across all age groups from Under 10 to Under 18 and have been holding a series of welcome sessions at the Planet Ice rink during May and June. 

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


Friday 12 July 2024

Kenny Williams Joins Deeside Ducks

The Deeside Ducks have announced the signing of another experienced NIHL player – Kenny Williams - for the forthcoming Laidler Division season.

Williams was a highly popular player for both the Flintshire Freeze and Deeside Dragons over a 10 year period and was a member of the Dragons side that won the Laidler Division League and Play Off double in 2016.

He is a veteran of over 200 games at NIHL level and has most recently been playing for the Deeside-based Connah’s Quay Cobras recreational team.

Talking about joining the Ducks, Williams said:

 “I am really grateful to be given the chance to play at Deeside again with the new team. It has a brilliant coaching team and it will be great to see the junior step up into senior hockey and hopefully, make the move to the Dragons in the future.”

Ducks Assistant Coach Stewart Cutting said of Williams: 

“Kenny has been a fantastic voice and guide for the younger members of this team already, and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to bring to the table. His presence on the ice this season will be key to the success we are looking to achieve, not only this season, but for the future of the Ducks.”

You can follow the progress of the new Deeside Ducks team as they prepare for their debut season in the NIHL Laidler Division on their Facebook page HERE

Thursday 11 July 2024

Deeside Ducks Sign Charlie Spridgeon

The Deeside Ducks have announced the signing of another experienced NIHL player – Charlie Spridgeon - for the forthcoming Laidler Division season.

Spridgeon is a product of the Deeside junior system and has played over 130 competitive games at NIHL level over 5 seasons.

He has played most of his career at Deeside – apart from the 2021/22 season, when the rink was closed and he won the Laidler Division title with Telford.

Talking about joining the Ducks, Spridgeon said:

“I am really excited to start playing hockey again after missing all of last season through injury.  I think that we can have a really competitive season in this league and I’m looking forward to it.”

Ducks Lead Coach Peter Bleackley said of Spridgeon:

“It’s great to have Charlie on the squad this season. Having coached him as a junior, we know he brings good energy to a team with his work rate and net drive. Recently, injury has plagued his seasons at D1 but, now he is back to fitness, we are hoping for big things from him with the Ducks.”

Spridgeon will also continue to be an important member of the Dragons organisation and will train regularly with the senior team.

You can follow the progress of the new Deeside Ducks team as they prepare for their debut season in the NIHL Laidler Division on their Facebook page HERE

Wednesday 10 July 2024

Match Report: Halton Huskies 10 – Bradford Cannibals 4 (Blood, Sweat & Beers Cup)

Howard Smith was in action for the Huskies (Photo by David Tattum / DJT Ice Hockey Photos)

Sunday 7th July – Blood, Sweat & Beers Cup: Halton Huskies 10 – Bradford Cannibals 4 

The Halton Huskies sealed their position at the top of the Blood, Sweat & Beers Cup group with a 10-4 win over Bradford Cannibals at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.

With last year’s winners - and their closest challengers - Blackburn Renegades losing out to Manchester Swarm on Saturday, and despite other games still to be played, it means that the Huskies cannot be overtaken and thus win the league part of this competition.

The game on Sunday was closer than the final scoreline suggests and the visiting Cannibals gave a good account of themselves throughout.

The Huskies took the lead on 3 minutes with a goal from Nathan Hewitt and doubled the advantage 66 seconds later with a strike from Jake Berry.

Bradford pulled a goal back but Matt Kohler rested the two goal cushion on 13 minutes.  The Cannibals fired in a goal with just 30 seconds left to go in the period to leave the score standing at 3-2 at the first interval.

The second period was similarly close, with plenty of chances for both sides. The only goal came in the 32nd minute when Dave Priestley fired in for the Huskies to bring the score to 4-2 at the second break.

Bradford scored again just 20 seconds into the third period to keep themselves  in contention but then the Huskies began to pull away with unanswered goals from David Hrubovsky, Priestley and Berry to lead 7-3.  

Another Cannibals goal on 56 minutes interrupted the flow briefly but further goals from Hrubovsky, Elliot Michaels and Matt Kohler rounded off the scoring for the Huskies, handing them a 10-4 victory.

After the game, Huskies Team Manager Ste Hay said:  “The Cannibals netminder was on loan from Swarm - they kept it close and made us work. We only started to get a chance to build a comfortable lead in the final period, which, considering the size of their travelling roster, was quite a feat."

Finishing top of the group means that the Huskies qualify directly for the final of the play offs, where they will face the winners of the 2nd v 3rd elimination match.

Blackburn, Manchester and Bradford are all in contention for the other play off places and they all still have games to play. The Huskies play their last game of the group stage away to Bradford on Saturday 10th August.  

Details of the play off fixtures will not be finalised until the other competing teams are known.


Tuesday 9 July 2024

Chris Jones Joins Deeside Ducks

Chris Jones will bring a huge amount of experience to the Deeside Ducks team this season (Photo by Keith & Jenny Davies) 

The Deeside Ducks have announced the signing of experienced player Chris Jones for the forthcoming NIHL Laidler Division season.

The idea of the new Ducks team is to provide regular senior hockey for young players coming out of the Deeside junior programme and to act as a stepping stone towards the senior Dragons team.

While the majority of the team will be Under 23s, a number of older more experienced players are also being added to the roster to bring stability and wisdom to the mix

Deeside supporters won’t need any introduction to Chris Jones who has been a long term favourite at the North Wales rink.

He was a Flintshire junior player and has enjoyed 19 seasons of senior hockey – mainly with the Flintshire Freeze and Deeside Dragons but with brief sojourns at Telford and Blackburn as well.

In that time he has played some 460 competitive games, scoring 314 goals, 231 assists and amassing 1628 penalty minutes.

Talking about joining the Ducks, Chris Jones said:

“I am pleased to join Deeside Ducks for the coming season and for the new challenge in my hockey career. I feel that being part of the team as a player will be a great experiences for me for me - as will helping build the team and assisting in developing the juniors through the club.”

“The Ducks team is exactly what Deeside needs to create a pathway into senior hockey.  There is a strong D1 Team at Deeside and this new team gives the younger players a stepping stone to that league in their future hockey careers.”

Ducks’ Head Coach Gary Shaw said of Jones’ signing:

“I have known Chris for many years from juniors to seniors and had a lot of time coaching his progression as a player. I now have asked him to give back to this new team and help me prepare the new talent for the next step up to senior hockey. Chris’s knowledge and experience will be vital to help the coaching team develop the next generation. Welcome on board, Chris.”

Jones will also continue to be an important member of the Dragons organisation and will train regularly with the senior team.

You can follow the progress of the new Deeside Ducks team as they prepare for their debut season in the NIHL Laidler Division on their Facebook page HERE

Monday 8 July 2024

Sledge Hockey Weekend Round Up - 6th / 7th July


The 2024 BPIHL title race is too close to call after the Sheffield Steelkings notched up a superb 3-1 win over league leaders Peterborough Phantoms on Sunday.

Two first period goals from Daniel Clarke gave the home side the upper hand early on but a strike from the league’s top scorer – Phantoms’ Gary Farmer - midway through the second period fired the title hopefuls back into contention. 

A third goal for the Steelkings with 5 minutes left in the period – from the stick of John Plummer – restored the 2-goal cushion and Sheffield led 3-1 at the second interval.

A goalless third period – during which Peterborough battered the Sheffield goal to no avail - meant that the Steelkings were able to hold on for an important victory.

This was the Phantoms’ first defeat of the season and the Steelkings’ third win from their 5 starts.  The result means that the situation is very tight at the top of the league table with just two points separating the top three teams.

The other game of the weekend saw the Manchester Mayhem win 0-6 away to Sheffield Steelstings on Saturday.  Karl Nicholson scored all 6 goals for the Mayhem and netminder Darren Pomfrett recorded his second shut-out of the season.

The teams all have a game-free weekend now but the action resumes on Saturday 20th July with two mouth watering encounters.

Sheffield Steelstings take on the Steelkings in the first rink derby meeting of the season at iceSheffield – 4.50pm face off –  and Cardiff Huskies entertain Peterborough Phantoms down in the Welsh capital, face off 6.25pm

You can see up-to-date league standings, player statistics and match summary sheets for the 2024 sledge hockey season on our unofficial stats website  HERE   https://www.mystatsonline.com/PBStats

Match Report: Sheffield Steelstings 0 – Mayhem 6 (British Para Ice Hockey League)

Karl Nicholson scored all 6 of the Mayhem goals away at Sheffield (Photo by Roksana Oniszczuk  / www.instagram.com/roksana.oniszczuk/)


Saturday 6th July – British Para Ice Hockey League: Sheffield Steelstings 0 – Mayhem 6 

The Mayhem sledge team picked up their second win of the 2024 British Para Ice Hockey League season with a 0-6 victory away over Sheffield Steelstings on Saturday.

Despite the comprehensive final score, this game was actually quite close for long spells and it took until the 13th minute of the game for the first breakthrough to come.

This fell to the Mayhem’s Karl Nicholson who slotted the puck away to give the visitors the lead and the same player scored again just 35 seconds later to give the Mayhem a 0-2 cushion at the first period break.

The second period was goal-less and the Mayhem survived an early 4 on 5 shorthanded spell for a t-boning penalty but otherwise outshot their hosts by 7 to 2.

An interference call early in the third period gave the Mayhem their own powerplay advantage and Nicholson punished the interference penalty with his hat-trick goal 

Two minutes later, the score was 0-4 to the Mayhem courtesy of another Nicholson strike and the on-target GB international made it 0-5 4 minutes after that.

A further powerplay goal on 43 minutes rounded off Nicholson’s double hat-trick for the game and the Mayhem ended up cruising to a 0-6 victory.

The win saw the Mayhem move briefly onto the same number of points as third place Sheffield Steelkings but a win for that team on Sunday over league leaders Peterborough saw them edge ahead once again in the table standings. 

The Mayhem have a three week break now before their next game – which is at home to title chasing Cardiff Huskies on Sunday 28th July at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.25pm face off.

There's a round up of all of the weekend sledge hockey action HERE

You can see up-to-date league standings, player statistics and match summary sheets for the 2024 sledge hockey season on our unofficial stats website at:  https://www.mystatsonline.com/PBStats


Saturday 6 July 2024

Johno Williamson Re-Signs For Widnes Wild

Jonathan Williamson has re-signed for the Wild for the 24/25 season (Photo by David Tattum / DJT Ice Hockey Photos)  

The Widnes Wild NIHL team have announced that Jonathan Williamson will be returning to the side for the 2024/25 Moralee Division campaign.

Williamson previously played for the Peterborough Islanders, Sutton Sting and Altrincham Aces before joining the Wild in the summer of 2022 and he will back for what will be his third season in Widnes colours.

In his 2 seasons to date with the Wild, Williamson has played 73 games in all competitions, scoring 8 goals and 18 assists from his primarily defensive role.  He has also picked up 35 penalty minutes.

Talking about re-signing Williamson, new Wild player-coach Tom Jackson said:  

“Johno was an easy decision for me to bring back. The guy is ‘Mr Consistent’ and you know what he brings each night. He’s a nightmare to play against in the defensive end and competes every time he’s on the ice, regardless of how much bigger his opponent may be. He was a big part of the team last season and I’m looking forward to see what he can bring this year too.”

Commenting on his return to Widnes, Williamson added:

“After 2 years at the Wild, it was certainly an easy decision for me to re-sign. The atmosphere in the changing room is one of the best I’ve been around and I am looking forward to trying to push the club further up the league table this coming season!”

*****

As part of their preparations for the 2024/25 Moralee Division season, the Wild are holding an open player trial at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday 14th July.

Players are required to arrive at 3.15pm to be ready to go in the ice 4.15.   Anybody who wants to take part is asked to contact gm@widneswild.co.uk in advance to register their interest.  

Immediately after the player trial, the Wild club are holding an open fans’ meeting at the rink where supporters will be able to ask new player coach Tom Jackson any questions they have.

The event starts at 5.30pm on Sunday with doors opening at 5pm so that fans can watch the last 15 minutes of the players trial session.



Widnes Wild Open Player Trial for 24/25 Season

New Widnes Wild Player/Coach Tom Jackson (Photo by David Tattum / DJT Ice Hockey Photos)  

The Widnes Wild NIHL team are holding an open player trial at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday 14th July as part of their preparations for the 2024/25 Moralee Division season.

Players are required to arrive at 3.15pm to be ready to go on the ice at 4.15. The cost of the session is £10 per player. Anybody who wants to take part is asked to contact gm@widneswild.co.uk in advance to register their interest.

Immediately after the player trial, the Wild club are holding an open fans’ meeting at the rink where supporters will be able to ask new player coach Tom Jackson any questions they have.

The event starts at 5.30pm on Sunday with doors opening at 5pm so that fans can watch the last 15 minutes of the players trial session.

Friday 5 July 2024

Deeside Ducks Announce Talented Trio

Left to right: Cody Ogden, Henry Phillips and Daniels Fadejevs will all play for the Deeside Ducks this season (Photo by Dragons IHC)

The Deeside Ducks have announced the signing of three promising junior players for the forthcoming NIHL Laidler Division season.

The idea of the Ducks team is to offer a stepping stone between the Deeside Junior development system and the senior Dragons team who play in the NIHL Moralee Division and regulations in place from the sport’s governing body - England Ice Hockey – allow for players under the age of 23 to “play up” for different teams in order to gain more experience and help with their development.

This arrangement means that promising Deeside junior players will be able to gain experience of regular senior hockey with the Ducks on a regular basis and also train and play with the senior Dragons team on suitable occasions.

The first of this trio of Ducks player signings is 17 year old Cody Ogden, who is a former Widnes Wild junior but switched to the Dragons U18s last season.  He also made one appearance for the senior Dragons in the Moralee Division.

Cody said: “Last year [making my senior Dragons debut] was a really big opportunity for me. I was nervous, but everyone was really encouraging, and I seemed to fit in pretty well. I felt really welcomed to the team. This season I feel great, I’m really excited for it. I can’t wait!”

16 year old Daniels Fadejevs played at U16 and U18 level for both the Deeside juniors and Manchester Storm Academy last season and was captain of the Storm U16 team.

He said:  “I can’t wait to play this season, there’s going to be a mix of games, Dragons and Ducks.I’m really excited for the opportunity!”

16 year old defenceman Henry Phillips also played for both Deeside and Manchester at U16 and U18 level last season.  He was also selected to play in the Longstaff U16 team at this year’s national Showcase tournament.  

Looking ahead to the new season, Phillips said:

“I really appreciate the opportunity and am so grateful for it. Being on a two-way contract with the Ducks also gives me a chance to develop with the Ducks and translate that to the Dragons. It’s a massive opportunity for me and the atmosphere around the team is great to be around. Everyone’s been so supportive and welcoming, I can’t wait to get started!”

You can follow the progress of the new Deeside Ducks team as they prepare for their debut season in the NIHL Laidler Division on their Facebook page HERE

Wednesday 3 July 2024

Deeside Ducks Complete Coaching Staff For Debut Season


The Deeside Ducks have completed the coaching staff for their debut 2024/25 NIHL season.

Following the appointment of Gary Shaw as Head Coach and Peter Bleackley as Lead Coach, the club has announced that Simon Hughes and Stewart Cutting are joining the staff as Assistant Coaches.

Hughes is a former Deeside Demons, Dragons and Altrincham Aces player and currently a Deeside junior coach while Cutting previously played for Slough Jets and Swindon Wildcats in ENL South and currently plays for the Deeside based Connah’s Quay Cobras recreational side. 

Talking about his appointment, Cutting said:

“I am delighted to be asked to be an Assistant Coach for this exciting new team in Deeside. Having coached the junior club, it’s going to be rewarding to see these young talented players come through the system and transition into adult hockey”

The Team Manager for the new Ducks team will be Angela Wilkes, who also has along affiliation with the Deeside club and was the Manager for the Under 18 team last season. 

Wilkes said:  “After many months of planning, it is amazing to see this team come together.  I am excited to be working with a passionate team to build a solid foundation to secure the future of ice hockey at Deeside, giving local talent the pathways and opportunities to develop their game to Division 1 level and beyond. I am hoping to make our inaugural season once to remember.”

Introducing himself in his own words, Simon Hughes said:

“I was born and lived within a mile of the Deeside Ice Rink. Ice skating and hockey has been an interest since the rink opened in 1974. First as a figure skater, then hockey fan (Deeside Dragons) and player from 1984 to1995.

“I was a product of the Deeside Juniors, although it was nowhere near as well structured as it is nowadays. Then I progressed to senior hockey with the Deeside Demons and was flattered to be chosen to wear the C in the first home game of the newly formed team (1987).

“At 18 I was training with the Dragons and occasionally playing up (4th line if I was lucky). Practicing and icing with the Dragons veterans I had supported as a kid and legendary imports and coaches was a fantastic experience, finally making the squad for the Dragons in the British National League (Heineken) until the team sadly folded in the early 1990's.

“A few of us had the opportunity to play in Manchester for Altrincham Aces/Trafford Metros, which I did until 1992. Hockey has changed, it was certainly less skilful and more physical, than the modern game, however this was a part of the game I particularly enjoyed.

“After redundancy from my fulltime job, I returned to Deeside to work alongside Gary Shaw as assistant coach with the Demons. I later continued playing recreational hockey until a knee injury ended my playing days in 1995.

“I have remained a life-long hockey fan and enjoy following all aspects of the sport in the UK and internationally, including trips to North America to watch live NHL games.

"Following a 25+ year hiatus, I have returned to the ice as an assistant coach for the Deeside Dragons Junior Ice Hockey Club (DDJIHC). I have also started officiating as a Level 1 Referee for Ice Hockey UK (IHUK) 2023-24. I am really pleased to be working with the new Deeside Ducks as an assistant coach, helping young players progress and hopefully seeing future success of this new NIHL D2N setup.”

You can follow the progress of the new Deeside Ducks team as they prepare for their debut season in the NIHL Laidler Division on their Facebook page HERE

Tuesday 2 July 2024

Widnes Wild Academy U18s At Sheffield Tournament


The Widnes Wild Academy sent two teams to the Under 18 tournament in Sheffield at the weekend – one in the “A Competition” and one in the “B Competition” – and, while they didn’t win many of their games, they picked up a lot of useful experience.

The Sheffield tournament is a national event and attracts teams from right across the country – and sometimes abroad - and this gives the players the opportunity to play against different teams to those who they usually meet in their normal regionalised league competitions. This weekend, for example, saw teams from Milton Keynes, Slough and Gosport taking part, as well as a team from Holland.

In the A Competition, the Wild U18A team lost 4-0 to the Sheffield Steelhawks, 1-0 to an U16s Select team, 2-0 to Slough and 3-2 to the Dutch Flyers team from Holland.  Their only success on the ice came in a 1-1 draw with Leeds and they finished bottom of the 6-team group table.

The Wild U18B team fared slightly better in the B Competition, losing 4-1 to eventual winners Milton Keynes, 1-0 to Deeside, 3-0 to Sheffield and 3-0 to Leeds but they did pick up a 1-0 win over Solent (Gosport) to finish 5th out of the 6 teams.

The Wild Academy are looking to recruit new players for the 2024/2025 season across all age groups from Under 10 to Under 18 and have been holding a series of welcome sessions at the Planet Ice rink during May and June. 

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


Deeside Ducks Announce Lead Coach Staff For Debut Season


The Deeside Ducks have announced their lead coaching staff for their debut 2024/25 NIHL season.

The Head Coach will be Gary Shaw backed up by Peter Bleackley as a lead coach, who both have long associations with the Deeside club in playing and coaching capacities.

Shaw was a highly rated player with the Deeside Dragons and Flintshire Freeze ENL/NIHL teams over a 20 year period and was more recently Head Coach of the Dragons for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons.  Last season, he was Head Coach of the Dragons Under 18 team that finished 6th in the U18 North 2 league table.

Peter Bleackley also has a huge amount of experience, having played and coached at Blackpool, Fylde, Blackburn, Widnes and Deeside over the years. He is a specialist netminding coach and has also been Head Coach of junior teams at Widnes and Deeside.

Talk about coaching the new team, Gary Shaw said:

“I am pleased to be given this opportunity to help develop the players from their current levels to enhance their skills, knowledge and experience and to push forward and advance their opportunities to play in the senior Dragons team.”

“This Ducks team will be predominantly U23 with at least a third being U19.  Some older players will be asked to play and their role will be to support the youth of the team and help with their progression.  The aim is to ultimately push for places in the Dragons senior team and on to higher levels such as England and Premier.”

“While winning is the aim of all teams, there are many different ways to win, so we will focus on all aspects required to advance our squad and, if we achieve the win on the scoreboard, it is a bonus for the team.” 

Peter Bleackley added:

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to coaching after a few years’ break. Gary, Simon and I have all coached and played hockey together, so as a coaching team we have a good understanding of our joint goals for the season ahead.”

“A Deeside D2 development team is a great opportunity for our juniors to gain a pathway into senior hockey. Many juniors - especially those that start playing hockey in their teens - aren’t ready for D1 and either drop out of the sport or play Recreational hockey when they age out of our junior system.”

“There’s a good buzz around the rink for the upcoming season and the new team will be an opportunity for players to showcase their skills and get valuable experience of regular competitive hockey at a senior level.”

An announcement regarding the Assistant Coaches will follow tomorrow (Wednesday).

You can follow the progress of the new Deeside Ducks team as they prepare for their debut season in the NIHL Laidler Division on their Facebook page HERE