Monday 27 May 2024

King Ken Testimonial Game At Widnes This Sunday

Ken Armstrong with wife Amanda (Photo by Geoff White)

Widnes Wild fans and players alike will have the opportunity of giving long serving Ken Armstrong a fitting send off this Sunday 2nd June as the club are staging a special testimonial game for the cult hero at Planet Ice Widnes, 5.30pm face off.

Armstrong has decided to hang up his skates after 11 years with the Wild club and the occasion will be marked with a challenge match between 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. 

A number of names on the “Team Ken” roster will be very familiar to Wild fans as Armstrong’s invitation team includes, among others:  

Former Widnes captain Shaun Dippnall who played some 200 games for the Wild from 2013 to 2020 and who remains the club’s top all-time overall goals, assists and points scorer 

Popular “Sheriff” Lee Kemp – a veteran of 229 games with the Wild who played last season with Peterborough Phantoms in NIHL Division 2 South and, like Dippnall and Armstrong, was a member of the Widnes team that won three Play Off titles in a row and the Laidler Division league title in 2019

Geoff Wigglesworth, who played several spells for the Wild between 2013 and 2019

Daniel Fay, who played for the Wild for 2 seasons from 2018-20 and played last season for Chelmsford Chieftain in South 1 

David Swanston, who played for the Wild for 2 seasons from 2015-2017

Josh Grocutt, who played for Widnes during their debut 2013/14 season and is now a coach with the Wild team

Sam Dunford, who played for the Wild during the 2014/15 season and was with Altrincham Aces last season 

And Calum Ruddick, who played in the Wild’s first ever game - along with Armstrong - and has some 130 appearances from 2 spells with the Wild before ending up at Blackburn last season.

Sets of contrasting playing shirts have been especially produced for the game based on Ken’s choice of historic Wild NIHL team shirt designs.  The yellow “Team Wild” shirt matches the design that was worn during the 2018/19 league title winning season - but bearing a “10” logo on the front instead of the usual black panther image - and the black “Team Ken” shirt is based on the 2017/18 season away shirt design and sports a humorous Ken cartoon face.

The shirts are being via an online auction, with the proceeds all going towards the testimonial fund. 

Above left:  Ken Armstrong with Calum Ruddick.  Above right: Daniel Fay (Both photos by Geoff White)

Long term friend and team mate Calum Ruddick said of Armstrong: “Just an all round “team first” guy, he has been glue in the room for 10 years. He knew his role and has done it well over a long period of time - the least he deserved was this testimonial. Away from hockey he is my best mate. He doesn’t like fuss and attention being on him, but I know how much this means to him.”

Daniel Fay added: “Kenny was a great team-mate and friend to me at Widnes. It was always great fun with Ken around and he made everyone feel welcome at the rink and outside. He was and will always be a big part of the club.”

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 or at the door on the night.