The YKK-sponsored Widnes Wild get their new season under way with a pre-season challenge game away to the Altrincham Aces this Sunday, 25th August 2019 (5.30pm face off).
A huge amount of preparatory work has gone on behind the scenes and in pre-season training, as new Wild Head Coach Mike Clancy has brought in a number of exciting young players who he hopes will form the nucleus of the team for future years.
The Aces had a disappointing time by their own standards in the Laidler Division last season and the Wild beat them in all four league meetings. However, previous form tends to count for very little in local derby games and matches between the Wild and the Aces are always keenly contested affairs, due to the relatively close proximity of the clubs and regular interchange of players over the years.
New Wild signings Sam Anderson and Charlie Ratcliffe both played for Altrincham-based teams last season and Mikey Gilbert and Jakub Hajek have also iced for the Aces in recent years. There are a lot of new faces in the Wild team this season, after several members of last year’s League and Play Off double winning side chose to retire from the game or move to pastures new.
With such a large player turn-over during the summer months, it will obviously take time for Clancy’s new-look Wild team to gel and the programme of pre-season warm-up games that he has organised will be ideal preparation for when the Laidler Division season gets under way in mid-September.
After this Sunday’s away game at Altrincham, the Wild are at home to the same opposition the following Sunday, 1st September 2019 at Planet Ice Widnes and they then have back-to-back away and home meetings with the Moralee Division Blackburn Hawks team the weekend after that.
Looking ahead to the 4 pre-season games, Clancy said:
“Training is now well under way as we start building momentum towards the first preseason games. Altrincham brings a local derby game, giving us chance to see the team skate together competitively for the first time, and a good chance to try some new things on the ice. The Blackburn Hawks 1 team will be a different challenge in competition, pace and skill level and it’s a great chance to put the team through it’s first big test ahead of the new season starting.”
“We expect both sets of fixtures to be a challenge in different ways. Learnings will be taken from both fixtures in preparing us correctly for the new season, whilst giving us chance to see some of our new young players getting early ice time to show us what they’ve got.”