Tuesday 2 April 2024

King Ken Retires After 11 Years At Wild

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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