Tuesday 18 June 2024

Widnes Wild Academy Under 12s At Sheffield Tournament

The Wild Academy U12 team were runners up in the Sheffield Tournament (Photo by Widnes Wild Academy)

The Widnes Wild Academy Under 12 team had a successful weekend where they finished runners up in a national tournament held in Sheffield. 

They competed in a 6 team group with the opposition coming from Milton Keynes, Solent, Sutton and Sheffield as well as a Scottish team from Fife (Kirkcaldy).

The Wild youngsters went unbeaten in all 5 of their group games, beating Solent 3-0, Sutton 3-0, Sheffield 5-2 and Milton Keynes 6-0, only dropping points against Fife in a closely matched 1-1 draw.

At the end of the group stage, Widnes finished top of the pile on goal difference ahead of Fife who had a similar results record and finished on the same number of points.

The top two teams met again in the final, on Sunday evening – which was just as closely fought as the first encounter had been. Fife scored early on and then went 2-0 up.  Widnes pulled a goal back, which made for a tense last 10 minutes, during which time they put the Scottish net under intense pressure but were unable to force a later equaliser.

The defeat means that Widnes come home with the runners up trophy – like their Under 14 counterparts the week before - but they can take heart from their performance over the weekend, which was another great advertisement for the Widnes Wild Academy development programme.

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


Match Report: Manchester Swarm 3 - Halton Huskies 15 (Blood, Sweat & Beers Cup)

Valerica Florea was the Huskies MVP against the Manchester Swarm (Photo by David Tattum / DJT Ice Hockey Photos)


Saturday 15th June – Blood, Sweat & Beers Cup: Manchester Swarm 3 - Halton Huskies 15

The Halton Huskies consolidated their lead at the top of the Blood Sweat & Beers Cup table with a comprehensive 3-15 victory away to Manchester Swarm at Altrincham on Saturday.

The Huskies were well on top of the majority of this game, outshooting the hosts by 62 to 20 over the course of the 60 minutes. They took the lead with a goal from Jake Berry on 5 minutes and then doubled the advantage with a strike from Valerica Florea 90 seconds later. 

Manchester pulled a goal back but further strikes from Jack Davies and Florea again saw the Huskies leading 1-4 at the first period break.

The second period was pretty much all Halton and 5 straight unanswered goals – from Elliot Michaels, Dave Priestley, Davies, Berry and Stuart Jamieson built up a commanding lead for the visitors by the second interval.  

A second goal for Jamieson and a strike from Nathan Hewitt had the score at 1-11 for the Huskies by the time Manchester managed to score again and further goals form Hewitt (again) David Hrubrovsky (2) and a hat-trick strike from Berry rounded off an emphatic victory.

The result means that the Huskies top the 5-team Blood, Sweat & Beers Cup table with 10 points from their 6 games to date, 4 points ahead of last year’s cup winners Blackburn Renegades in second place, who have a game in hand.

The Halton Huskies are next in action on Sunday 7th July when they take on the Bradford Cannibals at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.15pm face off.

They then have a challenge match against the Leeds Warriors at Widnes on 3rd August before finishing off their Cup campaign away to Bradford on Saturday 10th August.  


Match Report: Trafford Thunder 11 – Riverside Raiders 7 (Challenge Match)

Alex Newman scored twice for the Raiders at Trafford (Photo by Paul Breeze)


Saturday 15th June – Challenge Match: Trafford Thunder 11 – Riverside Raiders 7 

The Riverside Raiders team put in a plucky performance in a challenge match losing out 11-7 away to Trafford Thunder in Altrincham on Saturday. 

The Raiders were supposed to be playing the Thunder as part of the group stage of this year’s Summer Classic Cup – a competition that they actually won last year – but an unfortunate combination of rising costs involved in staging home matches and dwindling player numbers to help cover them has meant that they have been unable to take part in the competition this time around.

In the game on Saturday, the Raiders took the lead with just 1 minute on the clock with a goal from Shawn McBride but Trafford fought back to lead 2-1 after 10 minutes. Adam Jenkins scored on 12 minutes to draw the Raiders level again but Trafford edged ahead once more on 14 minutes. 

A second goal of the game from McBride looked to have tied the game again heading into the first period break but a late Trafford strike with just 17 seconds left to play handed them a 4-3 lead.

Despite having a short bench and not being able to ice two full lines, the Raiders gave a good account of themselves and drew level again two minutes into the second period with a goal from Alex Newman.

Four unanswered goals from the numerically superior Trafford side then put some daylight between the teams – building up an 8-4 lead – but Raiders heads didn’t drop and a hat-trick goal from McBride and a strike from Newman with 52 seconds to go saw the score standing at 8-6 at the second interval. 

They managed to narrow the deficit to just one goal with a strike from McBride – his fourth of the game – on 46 minutes but three more goals for the hosts rounded off an 11-7 win for the Thunder.

The Riverside Raiders are next in competitive action over the weekend of 29th/30th June when they will travel to Humberside to take part in the annual Ricky Barker Memorial Cup - held every year in memory of a valued member of the Hull grass roots ice hockey community - where they will take on a number rec teams from across the country. 


Monday 17 June 2024

Sledge Hockey Weekend Round-Up – 15th/16th June


The Manchester Mayhem picked up their first win of the 2024 British Para Ice Hockey League season with a 5-0 victory over Sheffield Steelstings on Sunday.

The goals came from Karl Nicholson (2), Anthony Booth (2) and Felicity Gregory, and Manchester netminder Darren Pomfrett achieved a shut-out.

The win sees the Mayhem draw level on points with the Sheffield Steelkings – who are in third place in the league table - although the Kings remain above the Mayhem by virtue of the head to head record between the two teams.

With no other games being played at the weekend, the situation at the top of the league table remains the same as before.

 Peterborough Phantoms remain top with 3 wins from their 3 games so far this season, 2 points ahead of Cardiff Huskies, who have 2 wins from 2 games.

Phantoms’ Gary Farmer remains the leading scorer at this early stage of the season with 16 goals and 1 assist from 3 games while Cardiff’s Tyler Christopher is second with 9+2 from 2 games.

This weekend sees the top two teams both in action, with the Cardiff Huskies playing the Steelkings in the Welsh capital on Saturday, 6.25pm face off and Peterborough entertaining the Mayhem on Sunday – 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

Match Report: Mayhem 5 – Sheffield Steelstings 0 (British Para Ice Hockey League)

The Mayhem team celebrate their first win of the 2024 season (Photo by Paul Breeze)

Sunday 16th June – BPIHL British Para Ice Hockey League: Mayhem 5 – Sheffield Steelstings 0

The Mayhem sledge team picked up their first win of the 2024 British Para Ice Hockey League season with a 5-0 victory over Sheffield Steelstings at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.

The game was quite close in its early stages but the Mayhem took the lead with a goal from Karl Nicholson on 6 minutes and then doubled the advantage with a strike from Felicity Gregory three minutes later. A second goal for Nicholson – unassisted on 12 minutes – gave the Mayhem a 3-0 lead at the first period break.

The visitors visibly upped their game in the second period but were not able to break through a stubborn Mayhem defence and a goal from Anthony Booth on 19 minutes edged the home side further ahead.

The third period played out in similar vein and a second goal from Booth rounded off the scoring for a 5-0 win for the Mayhem.

Darren Pomfrett put in a superb display in the Mayhem goal to record a shut out and the MVP awards for the match – presented by Mayhem head coach Peter Hagan - went to Gaz Lawton for Sheffield and Dave Lawrence for the Mayhem.

The wins sees the Mayhem draw level on points with the other Sheffield team – the Steelkings – who are in third place in the league table, although the Kings remain above the Mayhem by virtue of the head to head record between the two teams. 

The Mayhem travel to Peterborough this Sunday 23rd June to take on the league leading Phantoms, 4.25pm face off.  They are next at home on Sunday 30th June when they entertain the Sheffield Steelkings – at Planet Ice Widnes.


Sunday 16 June 2024

Match Report: Newcastle Predators 6 - Connah's Quay Cobras 7 (Summer Classic Cup)


Saturday 15th June 2024 - Summer Classic Cup:  Newcastle Predators 6 - Connah's Quay Cobras 7

The Connah’s Quay Cobras took a huge step towards qualifying for the Summer Classic Cup play offs with a nail bitingly close 6-7 win away to their nearest contenders Newcastle Predators in Whitley Bay on Saturday.

Connah’s Quay took the lead with a goal from Slavomir Sykora after just 1.50 of the game and Newcastle equalised 5 minutes later.  The Predators moved into the lead on 12 minutes but the Cobras were awarded a penalty shot – quite a rare occurrence in ice hockey – on 15 minutes and Chris Keating coolly slotted the puck away to level the score once again.

The second period was just as close as the first - with plenty of chances for both sides - and the Predators re-took the lead on 28 minutes with a powerplay goal punishing a Cobras tripping call.  The lead was short lived, however, and Connah’s Quay equalised again 4 minutes later with a goal from Martin Rybka.  Newcastle edged ahead again but a second goal from Rybka with just 32 seconds left in the period saw the score level at the second interval.

The home side snook back into the lead with a goal in the first minute of the third period but were unable to build upon this and the score was tied again at 5-5 with a goal from Sam Plant just 4 minutes later.

Sam Kennedy – playing his first game for the Cobras – edged Connah’s Quay back into the lead on 50 minutes but the Predators countered once again and tied the score at a nerve-wracking 6-6 with 8 minutes left on the clock.

The previous meeting between these two teams had ended as a draw and had to be decided on a penalty shoot out and – for much of the game - this scenario looked very much on the cards here as well, but just 40 seconds later Sykora fired in his second goal of the match to put the Cobras back into the lead and, despite numerous chances for both teams in the latter stages, Connah’s Quay held on to record an important victory.

The win means that the Cobras remain top of the Summer Classic Elite group table with 11 points from 7 games – 1 point ahead of Flintshire Phantoms who beat Blackburn Falcons 3-6 on Saturday and, as a result, now have 10 points.

The top two teams in the final table will qualify to take part in the play offs, which will be held in Sheffield in August, but the Deeside applecart could yet be upset by the Predators who are now lurking in third place but have two games in hand.

The Connah’s Quay Cobras play their final game of the group section of the Summer Classic Cup on Sunday 14th July when they entertain Trafford Thunder at Deeside Leisure Centre, 8.30pm face off.


Wednesday 12 June 2024

Widnes Wild Under 14s Runners Up In Sheffield Tournament


The Widnes Wild Academy Under 14 team had a successful weekend where they finished runners up in a national tournament held in Sheffield. 

They competed in a 6 team group with the opposition coming from Milton Keynes, Solent, Haringey and Leeds as well as the host team.

The Wild youngsters went unbeaten in their games on the Saturday, beating Milton Keynes 2-1, Solent 4-1 and drawing 3-3 with Haringey. On the Sunday morning they beat Sheffield 2-1 and then lost 2-0 to Leeds, which meant that they finished in second place in the group table, 1 point behind Haringey who ended up with three wins and two draws from their 5 games.

The top two teams then met again in the final, on Sunday afternoon – which was just as close as the first encounter had been.

At the end of normal time, the score was tied at 1-1 and the match needed to be decided by an extra period of 3v3 overtime.  Unfortunately, Haringey got the upper hand and went on to secure the trophy with a 2-1 win.

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


Monday 10 June 2024

Sledge Hockey - Weekend Round Up


Peterborough Phantoms moved clear on points at the top of the league table after a 0-12 win away at Sheffield Steelstings on Sunday.

They have a 100% record so far this season with 3 wins from their 3 games and are 2 points ahead of Cardiff Huskies, who have 2 wins from 2 games.

The other match at the weekend saw the other Sheffield team – the Steelkings - beat Manchester Mayhem 5-1 to pick up their first win of the season.

Phantoms’ Gary Farmer is the leading scorer at this early stage of the season with 16 goals and 1 assist from 3 games while Cardiff’s Tyler Christopher is second with 9+2 from 2 games.

This weekend sees the Manchester Mayhem at home to the Sheffield Steelstings on Sunday 16th June at Planet Ice Widnes.  Both teams are still looking for their first win so it should be a fascinating and entertaining encounter.  The game faces off at 4.25pm and admission is free for all spectators.

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


Wild Women Awarded Points In League Decision

DMUK Widnes Wild Women - 12th May 2024 (photo by Paul Breeze)

The DMUK Widnes Wild women’s team have finished the WNIHL Division 2 North season with three extra league points following a decision by the League Management Committee regarding two unresolved games.

The first game was the away fixture at Kingston Diamonds that was due to be played on 27th January but had to be postponed as the Hull Jets NIHL (men’s) team needed the ice slot for a Moralee Cup semi final match, which had to be played that weekend.

It was not subsequently possible to re-arrange the women’s game for a mutually convenient date and time so the result was eventually awarded as a 0-0 draw with 1 point for each team.

With Widnes having already beaten Kingston 10-2 at home in their first encounter of the season back in December - and considering the fact that the Diamonds’ only wins all season came at the expense of bottom team Grimsby - having this game awarded as draw comes across as a bit of a gift as the Wild women would, probably have won the re-arranged game had it been played.

The other decision was a bit more complicated as the away game at Grimsby on 24th February had to be abandoned at 16.47 minutes due to a serious injury to a Grimsby player. 

It was nobody’s fault and there was no foul play involved - the player concerned just fell badly and needed to be taken to hospital with a broken leg.

Widnes had travelled to the game without a recognised netminder so senior player Lucy Kirkham bravely stepped in to play in goal.  At the time of the abandonment, the score was 4-1 to Grimsby, with the sole Widnes goal coming from team captain Charlotte Cramp.

When a similar thing happened in a Wild women’s game the previous season - and a Widnes player was injured in a game away at Whitley, the score had been 0-1 to the Wild at the time of the incident and the result had been allowed to stand. 

This time, however, the LMC decided to award the abandoned game as a 0-5 forfeit win to Widnes,  suggesting that there must have been other aspects that needed to be considered.

The Grimsby team may well feel aggrieved that they missed out on their only chance of a win for the season when the game was called off but – here again - a full strength Widnes team would almost certainly have won the re-arranged game, had it been played.

With the result being awarded as a 0-5 forfeit, it means that the goals and assists scored by both sides do not get counted in the official records and, sadly, nor does Lucy Kirkham’s heroic 16 minute stint in goal during which she saved 15 of the 19 shots she faced.

The league decision means that the Wild women now finish the season with five wins, two draws and seven defeats from their 14 league matches.

They end up in 5th place in the 8-team table with12 points - 5 behind Leeds Roses who finish 4th and 3 ahead of Whitley Bay Beacons who finish 6th.

The Wild women’s top points scorer for the season was Preston Gennoe with 16 goals and 5 assists from 11 games. Katie Fairclough was second with 10+5 from 10 games and Katya Oliver third with 3+5 from 9 games.

Match Report: Halton Huskies 9 – Manchester Swarm 4 (Blood, Sweat & Beers Cup)

Jake Berry top-scored for the Huskies against Manchester with 3+2 (Photo by David Tattum / DJT Ice Hockey Photos)

Saturday 8th June – Blood Sweat & Beers Cup: Halton Huskies 9 – Manchester Swarm 4

The Halton Huskies extended their lead at the top of the Blood Sweat & Beers Cup table with a 9-4 victory over Manchester Swarm at Planet Ice Widnes on Saturday.

Jake Berry opened the scoring for the Huskies on 6 minutes and a powerplay strike from Reid Ryan on 12 minutes, punishing a Swarm penalty for an illegal body check, doubled the advantage. 

A straight hat-trick from Matt Kohler at the start of the second period saw Halton build up a commanding lead and a further goal - from Stewart Jamieson on 27 minutes - put the Huskies 6-0 up before the Swarm finally managed to score their first goal of the game.

A second Manchester goal quickly followed but two more goals for Berry – to round off his hat-trick - and a second of the game for Jamieson brought the score to 9-2 at the second period break.

The third period saw two more goals for the Swarm, but no more for Halton as they slightly took their foot off the gas, and the game finished as a 9-4 victory for the Huskies.

They remain unbeaten in this summer rec competition with 3 wins and 2 draws from their 5 games to date and lead the table with 8 points. Blackburn and Manchester both trail in their wake with 4 points each but they do both have a game in hand.

The Halton Huskies are next in action this Saturday 15th June when they travel to Altrincham to take on the Manchester Swarm, 5.45pm face off. They are next at home on Sunday 7th July when they entertain the Bradford Cannibals at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.15pm face off.

They finish off their group games with a home fixture against Bradford on Saturday 10th August.


Match Report: Sheffield Steelkings 5 – Mayhem 1 (British Para Ice Hockey League)

Anthony Booth scored the Mayhem’s only goal away at Sheffield (Photo by @haganovaphoto)

Saturday 8th June 2024 – British Para Ice Hockey League: Sheffield Steelkings 5 – Mayhem 1

The Mayhem sledge team slumped to their second defeat of the new British Para Ice Hockey League season with a 5-1 loss away to Sheffield Steelkings on Saturday. 

They travelled without a number of key players but welcomed back Canadian international player Peggy Assinck as player coach and the team gave a good account of themselves in the circumstances.

The game was actually very close in the first period and remained goal-less until the 13th minute when the home side took the lead.

The Mayhem equalised 2 minutes into the second period with a goal from Anthony Booth but Sheffield upped their game after that and outshot the visitors by a considerable margin thereafter. 

The SteelKings retook the lead on 22 minutes and edged further ahead with a powerplay goal on 28 minutes, punishing a Mayhem holding call.

The third period played out in similar vein with two more goals for the hosts on 32 and 37 minutes and Darren Pomfrett in the Mayhem goal was, once again, the busiest of the two netminders.

Over the 45 minutes, he managed to keep out 27 of the 32 shots that he faced, otherwise the score might have been much higher.

The Mayhem are next in action this Sunday 16th June when they face the Sheffield second team – the SteelStings - at Planet Ice Widnes.  Face off is at 4.25pm and admission is free for all spectators.


Tuesday 4 June 2024

Match Report: "Team Wild” 9 – “Team Kenergy” 13 (Ken Armstrong Testimonial Match)

Netminder Jake Lowndes with Ken Armstrong at the Testimonial Match (Photo by Phil Lowndes)

2nd June 2024 – Ken Armstrong Testimonial Match: "Team Wild” 9 – “Team Kenergy” 13

Widnes Wild players and fans bade a fond farewell to the club’s longest serving player, Ken Armstrong at a special Testimonial match played in his honour at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.

The match was staged to celebrate the career of the popular cult figure who has decided to hang up his skates after 11 years with the Wild club and featured a “Team Wild” – basically made up of current Widnes Wild NIHL team players, albeit with the odd twist - and a “Team Kenergy” that Armstrong assembled featuring friends and former team-mates from his many years in the game.

The game was a fitting send off for the Widnes hero and was highly entertaining from start to finish with plenty of end to end hockey and lots of goals. First blood went to Team Ken with a goal from former Wild player coach Scott McKenzie after just 80 seconds.  Goals from Blackburn Eagles title winning coach Scott Barnett and McKenzie again saw the team in black leading 0-3 before Mikey Gilbert opened the Wild account on 6 minutes.     

Further strikes for Widnes from Luke Alston and Damarni James and a goal for Geoff Wigglesworth and hat-trick marker for McKenzie on the Ken team left the score at 3-5 at the first period break. 

Needless to say, the game was played in a great friendly spirit throughout and no penalties were given out for foul play. The two penalties that were awarded were of a humorous nature and one saw Mikey Gilbert being given 2 minutes for “Spending Too Much Money At DMH Tyres” and Armstrong being given 2 minutes for “fighting” to allow him to go to the penalty box and change his shirt so that he could play for the other team for the second half of the game.

The second period saw goals for Rhys Edwards and 2 more for Damarni James for the Wild and strikes from Armstrong, Tristan Grimshaw (2), Widnes all-time record points and goals scorer Shaun Dippnall and former Wild Women’s team player coach Amanda Armstrong (Ken’s wife), and the score stood at  6-10 after 40 minutes of play.

The third period saw honours shared with three goals for each side  – from Harrison Walker - the netminder playing as a skater for this game – Johno Williamson and Luke Alston for Widnes, and Phil Pearson, Barnett and McKenzie for Team Kenergy.

Not surprisingly Ken Armstrong was named as Most Valuable Player (MVP) for both teams at the end.

The team full line ups were as follows:

“Team Kenergy”: #5 Sam Dunford, #7 Tristan Grimshaw, #9 Ken Armstrong (00.00 - 35.05), #11 David Swanston, #12 Geoff Wigglesworth, #14 Josh Grocutt, #15 Lee Kemp, #16 Amanda Armstrong, #19 Calum Ruddick, #39 Scott Barnett, #44 Kohen Taylor, #47 Daniel Fay, #71 Jack Murray, #77 Scott McKenzie, #93 Shaun Dippnall, #96 Macauley Armstrong,  #30 Phil Pearson (NM)

Bench Coaches: Richard Charles & Emma Pearson 

“Team Wild”: #5 Rhys Edwards, #10 Nathan Britton, #11 Will Harper, #16 Mikey Gilbert, #17 Andrew Hopkins, #18 Jonathan Williamson, #20 Bez Hughes, #21 Damarni James,  #22 Louis Rosslyn, #27 Luke Alston, #32 Harrison Walker, #39 Matty Barlow, #46 Alex Mitchell, #48 Mark Gillingham, #84 Tom Jackson, #29 Jake Lowndes (NM), #9 Ken Armstrong (35.05 – 60.00)  

Bench Coaches: Luca Tessadri & Terry Gray

The referees for the game were Craig Williams - who is a former Wild player and actually played in the Wild’s first ever game alongside Armstrong back in August 2013 - and former Wild Academy and NIHL player Sam Anderson, who is now an Elite League referee. The linesmen were Neil Herring and Andrew Mackinnon.

Match Report: Chester Road Reapers 0 – Halton Huskies 7 (Challenge Match)

Huskies netminder Adam Darbyshire got a shut away to the Chester Road Reapers at Deeside on Sunday (Photo by @haganovaphoto)

Sunday 2nd June – Challenge Match: Chester Road Reapers 0 – Halton Huskies 7  

The Halton Huskies picked up a 0-7 road win away to the Deeside-based Chester Road Reapers in North Wales on Sunday.

This match was described as a “development” challenge, meaning that it was a game against a less experienced opposition team and gave an opportunity for some of the squad players to get more ice time than they might in a more competitive encounter.

Jake Berry opened the scoring for the Huskies in the 5th minute - with a powerplay goal punishing an interference call - and the score remained 0-1 at the first period break.

In all fairness to the opposition, this game was pretty close in its earlier stages and it took until the mid-way point for the next breakthrough.  This fell again to the Huskies and a goal from Matt Mitchell on 29 minutes doubled the lead. A further Halton goal – from the stick of Jon Getty on 35 minutes – edged the Huskies further ahead and they led 0-3 at the second interval.

Halton extended their lead to 4 goals early in the third period with a second strike from Getty on 45 minutes and, shortly after this, the Reapers found themselves a player down for an extended spell following a 5 +Game penalty for an illegal check.

Thomas Pendlebury fired in a goal in the resulting powerplay to put the Huskies 0-5 ahead and the game seemed pretty much over as a contest.

Two goals within 22 seconds of each other on 56 minutes – from Stuart Jamieson and Dominic Gray – rounded off the scoring for the match and the Huskies were able to celebrate a 0-7 victory, with  netminder Adam Darbyshire securing a 36-shot shut out

The Halton Huskies are next in action this Saturday 8th June when they take on the Manchester Swarm at Planet Ice Widnes, 4.15pm face off.


Monday 3 June 2024

Wild Academy Call Ups For Showcase and Home Internationals

 Rhys Edwards in action for England U18s against Scotland – photo by Laura Trivet

A number of Wild Academy junior players were included in the prestigious “Showcase” event at Sheffield over the Bank Holiday weekend. 

Ethan Liversage and Caleb Eddleston were both selected to play for Under 12 teams at the tournament, Jared Knowles as an Under 16 and Euan Cunningham, Zoja Skriniar, Sam Ives & Adam Nowak were all called up to play in the “Mites / Mighty Mites” event for younger players born in 2015,16 and 17.

Wild Academy Head Coach Mike Gilbert was appointed to run one of the Under 16 teams and Debbie Alston was selected to be Manager for an Under 15 team.

This event was for a long time known as “Conference Weekend” and brought together representative teams from the North, the Midlands, the South East and the South West at different age levels to play each other in a weekend tournament.

However, the English Ice Hockey Association – who rebranded themselves “England Ice Hockey” this year and who have recently been driven to change / improve everything – have renamed the tournament weekend as “Showcase”.  They have also removed the regional composition of the teams, replacing it with a “draft” format based on player ratings from club coaches and with the teams instead being named in honour of recent Team GB senior players.

Unfortunately this means that, while the fact that one of the Wild players has been named on the “Team Bowns” Under 12 team and another on the “Team Richardson” Under 12s is still a great honour for the players concerned as well as a good all round advert for the Wild Academy junior development programme – and the games obviously mean a lot to those who are organising them and playing in them at the actual event - the individual weekend results between these variously composed, and non-geographic, teams mean comparatively little to the outside world.


England v Scotland U18/U19

Widnes Wild NIHL player Rhys Edwards was selected to play for the England Under 18 team in a series of games against Scotland U19s (Scottish ice hockey use different age groups to those in England)

The Scotland U19 line up also included a number of Wild NIHL players - Kyle Carruth, Owen Rae, Torran Anderson, Bailey Thomson and Flynn Massie - and the Scotland team coach was Wild NIHL player coach Joey Coulter.

The first two games took place at iceSheffield during the Showcase junior weekend and saw England win the first game 5-1 and lose the second game 0-3.

There were two return games played in Dumfries the following weekend as part of a wider Scotland v England national tournament, with Under 15 and Under 17 teams also taking part. The Scots won both those games - 7-2 and 5-2 – to win the series by 3 games to 1 and secure the annual Frank Dempster Memorial Trophy.


Sunday 2 June 2024

Match Report: Trafford Thunder 1 - Connah's Quay Cobras 22 (Summer Classic Cup)

Cobras' Chris Keating scored 7 +5 in the win away at Trafford Thunder (Photo by James New)


Saturday 1st June - Summer Classic Cup: Trafford Thunder 1 - Connah's Quay Cobras 22

The Connah’s Quay Cobras moved back to the top of the Summer Classic Cup Elite group table after a comprehensive 1-22 trouncing of Trafford Thunder away at Altrincham on Saturday.

The Thunder have struggled so far this year - with two defeats and a forfeit from their opening 3 games of the tournament - and, with the Cobras roster including a number of former NIHL league players and the team keen to bounce straight back after their narrow Deeside derby defeat by the Flintshire Phantoms in their last game, an away win always looked on the cards in this match.

The Cobras scored the opening goal after just 40 seconds and it was pretty much one way traffic after that. The score was 0-4 at the first period break and 0-5 by the time that Trafford scored their only goal of the game on 25 minutes.

Three Cobras goals within 44 seconds of each other on 32 minutes put the game well out of the reach of the Thunder and 4 more goals late in the period saw Connah’s Quay leading 1-12 at the second interval. 

A completely one sided third period saw 11 more goals for the Cobras – including a penalty shot converted by Martin Rybka on 53 minutes - and the marauding Deesiders cruised to a relatively easy victory. 

Former Dragons player Chris Keating led the Connah’s Quay Scoring with 7 goals and 4 assists and was named MVP for the Cobras, Martin Rybka weighed in with 4+5, former Slough Jet Stewart  Cutting hit 2+5 and Martin Stolicny also scored a hat-trick.  The rest of the goals and assists were liberally shared around the team and 13 different players got their names on the score sheet.

The Cobras play their next group game on Saturday 15th June when they have the long trip to the North East to face Newcastle Predators, and they are next at home on 14th July when they entertain Trafford in their last match of the qualifying series at Deeside Leisure Centre.

Match Report: Mayhem 1 – Peterborough Phantoms 4 (British Para Ice Hockey League)

The Mayhem and Phantoms teams after the match at Widnes (Photo by Peterborough Phantoms PIHC)

Saturday 1st June – British Para Ice Hockey League: Mayhem 1 – Peterborough Phantoms 4

The Mayhem sledge team put in a battling performance in their first game of the 2024 British Para Ice Hockey League season but ultimately lost out 1-4 to Peterborough Phantoms at Planet Ice Widnes on Saturday.

This was a highly entertaining game – with plenty of end to end hockey - and was, in fact, was a lot closer than the final scoreline suggests.

After a very tense opening phase, with both teams cagily testing each other out, the Phantoms eventually made the first breakthrough with a goal on 8 minutes and the score remained 0-1 at the first period break.

The Mayhem upped the pressure in the second period, outshooting the visitors by 3 to 1, but it was to no avail as the Phantoms scored again on 19 minutes - with a long range speculative shot from the half way line that somehow evaded Mayhem netminder Darren Pomfrett. A third goal for Peterborough followed on 27 minutes leaving the Mayhem with a lot of catching up to do in the third period.

The home side’s efforts were finally rewarded with a goal from Anthony Booth on 32 minutes and this looked as if it would spark a late rally for the Mayhem.  They had numerous chances in front of goal but were continually thwarted by a very solid Phantoms netminder.

They got caught out at the back while pushing forward and a fourth goal for the Phantoms on 38 minutes sealed the win for the away team.

The result means that Peterborough move to the top of the British Para Ice Hockey League table at this early stage of the competition, matching Cardiff with two wins from two games.   In ice hockey, teams with the same number of points are usually separated in the league table by the results in games played between them but, as Peterborough and Cardiff have yet to play each other, the Phantoms currently head the table by virtue of overall goal difference.  

The Mayhem are next in action this Saturday 8th June when they travel to Sheffield to take on the Steelkings, 4.50pm face off. They are next at home the following Sunday 16th June when they entertain the second Sheffield team, the SteelStings, at Planet Ice Widnes – 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 HERE


Wild NIHL Presentation Evening

Netminder Luca Tessadri receives the Coaches' Player of the Season award from Head Coach Joey Coulter (Photo by Steve Cunningham)

The Widnes Wild NIHL club recently held their end of season Presentation Evening at The Venue, Widnes Old Town Hall. This is always a very popular occasion where players, team staff, match volunteers and fans can all get together in a relaxed atmosphere and look back over the past season.

The Player Awards for the 2023/24 season were announced and these went to:

  • Coaches’ Player of the Season – Luca Tessadri
  • Coaches’ Forward of the Season - Matty Barlow
  • Coaches’ Defenceman of the Season - Will Harper
  • Fans’ Forward of the Season - Matty Barlow
  • Fans’ Defenceman of the Season - Owen Rae
  • Players’ Player of the Season – Mikey Gilbert
  • The Ken Armstrong Award – Jonathan Williamson 

(Note: The Ken Armstrong Award was introduced last year and is for the player who the coaches feel went above and beyond what is expected of them over the course of the season.)

There were also special presentations to Ken Armstrong and Tom Jackson for having passed 300 games for the Wild earlier in the season and for Matty Barlow and Nathan Britton who have passed 100 appearance in Widnes colours.

As well as the usual speeches, the evening also included dancing, a buffet and supporters were able to collect the “own and loan” players’ shirts that they had sponsored for the season.


Wednesday 29 May 2024

Armstrong Testimonial Teams Finalised

Former Wild Player Coach Scott McKenzie will ice for Team Ken in Sunday's testimonial game (Photo by Geoff White)

The team line-ups for the Ken Armstrong testimonial game at Planet Ice Widnes this Sunday 2nd June have now been finalised.

The match is being staged to celebrate the career of popular cult figure Ken Armstrong who has decided to hang up his skates after 11 years with the Wild club and will feature a “Team Wild” – basically made up of current Widnes Wild NIHL team players, albeit with the odd twist - and a “Team Ken” that Armstrong has assembled featuring friends and former team-mates from his many years in the game.

The full line ups are as follows:

Team Ken: #5 Sam Dunford, #7 Luke Brittle, #9 Ken Armstrong, #11 David Swanston, #12 Geoff Wigglesworth, #14 Josh Grocutt, #15 Lee Kemp, #16 Amanda Armstrong, #19 Calum Ruddick, #39 Scott Barnett, #44 Kohen Taylor, #47 Daniel Fay, #71 Jack Murray, #77 Scott McKenzie, #93 Shaun Dippnall, #96 Macauley Armstrong,  #30 Phil Pearson (NM)

Team Wild: #5 Rhys Edwards, #10 Nathan Britton, #11 Will Harper, #16 Mikey Gilbert, #17 Andrew Hopkins, #18 Johno Williamson, #20 Bez Hughes, #22 Louis Rosslyn, #27 Luke Alston, #32 Harrison Walker, #39 Matty Barlow, #46 Alex Mitchell, #48 Mark Gillingham, #84 Tom Jackson, #29 Jake Lowndes (NM) 

All the players’ shirts are being sold by an online auction, which runs until 5.30pm on Sunday when the testimonial game faces off. The auction can be viewed and accessed here: https://app.galabid.com/ken9testimonial/items

The Ken Armstrong Testimonial game this Sunday faces off at 5.30pm, with doors opening at 4.45. Tickets can be purchased in advance via the ticketing website at https://iceaccount.co.uk/widnes-wild or at the door on the night.


Tuesday 28 May 2024

New Ducks Set To Soar In Deeside

Deeside have announced that a new “Deeside Ducks” team will play in the NIHL Laidler Division for the 2024/25 league season.

The idea of the team is to offer a stepping stone between the highly successful Deeside Junior development system – who operate teams at various age groups from Under 10s to Under 18s - and the senior Dragons team who play in the NIHL Moralee Division.

The aim is allow younger players to continue to play competitive league ice hockey after they have “aged out” of the junior system and gain experience at senior level in the hope of eventually breaking through to the Dragons Moralee side.

The Ducks have arranged two open player trials – on Monday 10th June and Monday 17th June from 9.30 to 10.30pm at Deeside Leisure Centre.  Anybody interested in taking part is asked to contact James Parsons by email at James.Parsons@aura.wales


Monday 27 May 2024

Match Report: Connah's Quay Cobras 7 - Flintshire Phantoms 8 (Summer Classic Cup)

Simon Soltes was the Connah's Quay MVP in his first game for the Cobras 

Sunday 26th May - Summer Classic Cup: Connah's Quay Cobras 7 - Flintshire Phantoms 8

The Connah’s Quay Cobras lost out by the narrowest of margins to their North Wales rink rivals Flintshire Phantoms in a thrilling and highly entertaining 7-8 Summer Cup defeat at Deeside Leisure Centre on Sunday.

The opening period was cagey and very close and it took until the 11th minute for the deadlock to be broken.  First blood went the way of the Phantoms as they scored a delayed penalty goal punishing a slashing penalty call to take the lead.  The Cobras fought back and a goal from former Deeside Dragons league player Chris Keating drew them level with 90 second left in the period.

Connah’s Quay took the lead 2 minutes into the second period with a goal form Sam Krempasky – another former Dragon – but the visitors (Flintshire were the “away” team for this game) hit back with two quick goal of their own around the 27 minute mark to retake the lead and then edged further ahead with a powerplay goal on 32 minutes.

Martin Rybka pulled a goal back for the Cobras two minutes later but a further strike late in the period saw the Phantoms take a 3-5 lead into the second interval.  

Simon Soltes – a Slovakian student playing his first game for the Cobras - scored early in the third period to narrow the deficit to just one goal but Flintshire hit back 60 seconds later to restore the 2 goal cushion. A powerplay goal on 44 minutes saw the Phantoms go three 3 goals ahead but they were pegged back again by a shorthanded goal scored by Rybka.

A further powerplay goal – their 4th of the game – on 47 minutes extended the Flintshire lead once again and this turned out to be the match winning goal.

Connah’s Quay mounted a late surge – with Keating scoring a powerplay goal on 53 minutes and rounding off his hat-trick with a goal with just 1 second left on the clock – but it wasn’t quite enough and the Phantoms team were able to hang on for the win.

The result sees the Flintshire Phantoms leapfrog the Cobras to take over at the top of the Summer Classic Cup group table with 8 points from their 6 games to date.  The Cobras have 7 points from 5 games and the Newcastle Predators are in third place with 6 points from 3 games.  The top two finishers in the group will progress to the play off semi finals, which will be held in Sheffield in August, so there is much still to play for.

The Cobras play their next group game this Saturday 1st June when they travel away to play Trafford Thunder at Altrincham Ice rink. They then have the long trip to the North East to face Newcastle on 15th June and are next at home on 14th July when they entertain Trafford in their last match of the qualifying series at Deeside Leisure Centre.