WidnesWild.co.uk catches up with Calum Ruddick after the reveal held at Silver-Blades Ice Rink.
Hi Calum, Thanks for taking the time to speak to WidnesWild.co.uk. You’ve had a couple of weeks now using the rink, thoughts on the venue?
The rink is very good, the pad is a decent size with full plexi-glass surrounding the ice. It will be looking great once the seats go in and the bar area is there, I’m sure it will be up there with the best in the UK. The Hive Leisure Park is pretty decent too, with good facilities near by and easy access, not too far off the motor way. I think it’s a good base for a team to be successful.
After spending a couple of Thursday evenings with Manager Mick Caunce and Coach Mark Gillingham, how are you finding the initial set-up of the team?
My first impressions of the set up are very positive, both Mick and Gilly have been very welcoming, the sessions have had a good tempo to them and there have been some good players down on the ice. Mick is arguably one of the best managers in hockey, he knows what it takes for a team to work off the ice, and I am sure, that with a few decent signings Gilly can make this team work. There is a lot of potential with this team and club, I have heard the plans and what direction the management and board want to take this team and it’s good to be a part of the set up at Widnes.
At what point did you hear about Widnes forming an Ice Hockey team, and how did you make steps to get yourself involved with the set up here?
I knew Widnes were getting a rink so its normally only a matter of time before a team is formed. I didn’t really hear too much until the back end of last season, when a few whispers were going around that Fylde Flyers would not be entering the league next season (2013/14) and that Mick has been in contact with the rink regarding setting up a team here. The first time I actually knew there was a team that would be entering the league out of Widnes was from a friend, and that same week there was a message going around on social media websites about an open training session for players to come down to Widnes and see what its like and what is on offer. With that it was confirmed Mick was involved, so I spoke with him and went down for a few sessions and the choice was easy really. It’s where I want to be playing, there is a good feeling about the rink and where the team is going.
Have you set yourself any personal targets for your first season at the Wild?
Not really as of yet, I have a few in mind but I don’t think this early in the off season is the right time to let people know about them. Also with having a lot of last season away from hockey I am just glad to be back on the ice playing.
I’ve been looking at your senior Ice Hockey career, you spent 2 years with Flintshire Freeze and also featured for Deeside Dragons in your third season. How did you find the first chapter in your career at Deeside Ice Rink?
I enjoyed most of my time at the club and have a lot of good things to say about the club, Ian Taylor works really hard behind the scenes and does a lot for the players, he doesn’t always get the credit he deserves. The club has a lot of back room staff, which is great and gives the team a real professional feel. I enjoyed playing for the Freeze very much and we came up short in the first two seasons, I was there missing out on the play offs. I started off the season with the re-branded Dragons under new player coach Steve Fellows, but I chose to have a break from hockey, and quit at the end of October because of certain things behind the scenes which dampened my time at Flintshire/Deeside. I hold nothing against the club or people within it, it’s just a shame my time there ended the way it did but good luck to them.
Did you find it a hard decision to call time on your Dragon days?
Yes very hard, but looking back at my decision it was the right one. I have come back enjoying hockey, which wasn’t the case last season, but when people don’t respect you and there are issue’s that were clearly never going to get sorted, you have to do what is right for yourself, I felt it was, and I had to stick by that. After a small break from the game I am now ready to go with Widnes and make this club as good as it can be.
Last night we also saw Bobby Caunce, Ken Armstrong, Stew Marriott & Richard Charles announced as players for the Widnes Wild. What are your thoughts on the initial signings?
With it being so early in the off-season it’s good that Mick and Gilly have already started shaping the team up for our first year within the NIHL.
Bobby is a quality player who gets a lot of goals, he is a dangerous player he has such a keen eye for goal, you just have to look at his statistics and you see he has been the main goal scorer for Fylde over the past 2 seasons. He’s a player I have only ever played against in both Ice and Roller hockey so it will be a nice change to be on his team for a change.
Ken is one of my best friends and we go back around 15 years, so it will be great to play on the same team as him. He played with Blackburn Eagles so I don’t think people have seen the best of him yet, he has decent speed and gets some good goals too. I’m sure he will be a great addition to the team.
Finally, let me be one of the first to officially welcome you to the town of Widnes. I hope you enjoy your time here and we’ll be sure to catch up again after the June player trials! Thanks Calum.