Wild’s Shaun Dippnall fires a penalty shot past Hull netminder Dean Bowater in the 6-5 Widnes home win over the league leaders back in March (Photo by Hannah Walker)
The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild’s Shaun Dippnall has been included on the shortlist for the prestigious Player Of The Season award for this year’s NIHL North 2 Laidler Division.
Following on from the popular monthly awards – which Dippnall won in January and Wild team mate Phil Pearson won in February – the NIHL are running a Player Of The Season award for each of the 5 league divisions – National, North 1 & 2 and South 1 &2.
Shortlists for each division have been drawn up with three netminders, three defencemen and three forwards from which an overall winner will be selected.
Alongside Dippnall in the Laidler Division nominations, there is further Widnes interest in netminder Mike Rogers who previously played for the Riverside Raiders recreational team and has had a superb season in goal for local rivals Deeside Dragons.
Dippall’s inclusion on the shortlist is highly merited. In a rather hit and miss season for the Wild where the team was plagued with injuries and other mishaps, he was solid performer on the ice and ended up as the Wild’s top scorer in the league with 29 goals and 30 assists from 23 games – along with 6 goals and 3 assists in 5 Midland Cup games – all with a highly creditable zero penalty minutes!
Commenting on his inclusion on the shortlist for Laidler Division Player Of The Season, Dippnall said:
“I am very surprised – but also proud to have been nominated. I genuinely didn’t expect it.”
Looking back over the season – where he finished as the team’s top scorer for the first time in his career, he said:
“I actually shouldn’t have finished as high as the stats say. I had a few assists more than I should have of against my name as there was a glitch on the system. However, I still had a pretty good year points-wise. It was probably the strangest year of hockey in my entire life with the things that were happening behind the scenes, however I still had fun with the boys and managed to bag a few goals along the way!”
“The players were all disappointed with the outcome of the league table. I feel we would have finished in second place with Hull taking the title, rightly so as they were the best and most consistent team throughout the year.”
When asked how the players were coping with the lockdown regulations and how it was affecting their training regimes, Shaun said:
“Obviously we aren’t doing anything as a team with the government guidelines that are in place. I know the lads are doing their part with regards to running or going out on their bikes. It’s an extended summer this year due to the disappointing end to the season. I’m sure everybody will be ready to go come August!”
The full shortlist for the 2019/20 Laidler Division Player Of The Season awards is as follows:
Netminders: Dean Bowater (Hull Jets), Mike Rogers (Deeside Dragons), Ian Thirkettle (Bradford Bulldogs)
Defencemen: Ollie Rayne (Altrincham Aces), Boris Giba (Hull Jets), Matt Wainwright (Deeside Dragons)
Forwards: Shaun Dippnall (Widnes Wild), Thomas Humphries (Sheffield Senators), Vlads Vulkanovs (Altrincham Aces).
Wild Players Stage Lockdown Awards Party
With all public events currently cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the most recent casualty has been the Widnes Wild End of Season Presentation evening which had been planned for 18th April.
This is always a highly popular occasion where players, supporters, coaches and match volunteers can all come together in a relaxed social setting to round off the season, present player awards and hand out the “own and loan” shirts that had been sponsored by the fans.
This year’s event has been postponed until the government restrictions are relaxed and it is deemed safe for social gatherings to recommence and there are hopes to be able to stage it later in the summer.
In the meantime, Wild player Shaun Dippnall came up with the idea of holding an unofficial awards night – just for a bit of fun – using social media video conferencing, meaning that the players could all link up from the safe distance of their own living rooms, kitchens, conservatories and back gardens.
Some quick polls were hastily thrown together to come up with categories and winners and a fully suited and booted Dippnall MC’d the event. Like all good award ceremonies, it went on for hours and was a really good way for all the players to get together and enjoy some of the camaraderie and banter that they will have been missing out on since the country went into lockdown.
For the record, the winners of these 2020 unofficial “Dippy” Awards were:
Most Valuable Player – Phil Pearson
Best Defender – Daniel Fay
Best Forward – Shaun Dippnall
Players’ Player – Mike Mawer
Coaches’ Player – Bez Hughes
and Clubman of the Year – Ken Armstrong.
A club announcement will be made once a new date is known for the Wild’s Official Presentation Evening and arrangements for voting for the official player awards will be also released nearer the time.