|Widnes Wild's Matty Barlow (Photo by Steve Cunningham)
Widnes Wild NIHL player Matty Barlow is to take part in this year’s Rob Craig memorial game which will be played at Blackburn on 12th May.
The game is played every year in memory of former Blackburn recreational player Rob Craig who took his own life in 2017 and aims to raise funds and awareness for mental health charities.
The memorial event is now in its 5th year, having been first staged in 2018 as a friendly match between groups of Craig’s former team mates, and it has become bigger every year as more people have wanted to become involved. As the profile of the event has grown, more companies and sponsors have come on board and the game has been able to attract bigger player names to boost the team rosters.
Alongside Matty Barlow, it has been announced that former Widnes players Bobby Streetly and Adam Barnes – both now with Blackburn Hawks - Kieran Brown – now captain of the Leeds Knights National Division team – and Mark Higson (Bradford Bulldogs) will also be playing in the memorial match.
More big name players will be added to the line up in the run up to the event and they will be spread across two teams to ensure an entertaining and competitive game.
Event co-organiser Wez Spurett – himself a former General Manager of the Widnes Wild NIHL team - said:
“It’s not just a game of hockey for us, we play against our friends all the time, but this started off as just trying to get our friends together and remember Rob and the underlying purpose of it was to make sure that we spread awareness about what happened with Rob and do anything we can to try and prevent that.”
“We set off on this mission saying if we can help one person then the whole event is worth it, and we feel like each event there are more and more people coming and we are helping more people which makes it so worthwhile.”
“We’ve had a lot of sponsors come on board wanting to be involved to help with the fundraising so it is more than a hockey game now it's definitely an event and it is really helping us.”
The beneficiary of the 2024 Rob Craig Memorial game will be Andy’s Man Club – an organisation that started off in Halifax and now organises local groups across the country where men aged 18 and above can speak openly about their mental health in a judgement-free, non-clinical environment.
You can find out more about Andy’s Man Club and their local groups via their website at andysmanclub.co.uk
Advance tickets for the game on 12th May are now on sale via the Planet Ice Blackburn ticketing website HERE.
Anybody who would like to help with sponsorship - or otherwise get involved with the event - is asked to contact the organisers at firstname.lastname@example.org