After just turning 18-years-old Tom feels he is now ready to perform at Senior level after racking up 66 appearances for Manchester Phoenix at U16 and U18 level, he also played one game for Flintshire Avalanche where he scored 2 goals.
As a late trialist, he attended the fourth and final trial session, and initially looked his age against the more seasoned players, but showed the potential was all there. After being asked to attend further sessions, one week later it looked like a weight had been lifted and he was settling in to his new surroundings.
Fresh after signing on for a season at the Wild, Tom said;
“This is my first year of playing senior hockey, and what has attracted me to play for Widnes Wild is that there is a very experienced set of players who have played a high level of hockey throughout their careers. Through the trials and now the training sessions, I was kept motivated by the coaches and the players, it felt like I was a part of the team before I was asked to sign. The coaches have also been fantastic off the ice including our manager Mick Caunce.
The new rink has definitely added to the feel of a brand-new team, with the helpful staff and the quality of the ice. I’m looking forward to the forthcoming season with the Wild, as the youngest addition to the team.”
Head Coach Mark Gillingham is enjoying what he’s seeing from the young forward;
“Tom is someone I didn’t know at all until a few weeks ago. He came to the last of our trial sessions, and we invited him back because we were impressed by what we’d seen but we wanted to see a bit more.
I was sure I wanted Tom in a Wild shirt after his second session, when he came up to me and asked me which areas I wanted him to improve in to be offered a place on the team. That’s exactly the kind of player we want – someone striving to better himself, and someone for whom it clearly meant something to play for Widnes. He works hard every week, and for someone so young, he copes really well with the physical side of the game. Don’t be surprised to see him improve significantly over the course of the season.”
Joining Tom is Greg Ruxton, The 25 year old Netminder follows Troy Evans, Stew Marriott, Bobby Caunce and Kurtis Hall as an ex-Fylde Flyer who has the potential to put in solid performances week after week for the Wild and is trusted to do so by team manager Mick Caunce.
Briefly speaking after signing, Ruxton said;
I’m really happy to be playing for Mick again and it looks like we’ve got a good set of lads together for our first season, we should do well for a new team.
Greg is a player whom Mark Gillingham knows very well;
“Greg is someone I’ve known a long time. He’s a fantastic goalie, but his place on the team isn’t solidified by just his ability, but his character as well. Like I say, I know Greg really well, and I know what he’s gone through just to be playing today. When you consider just how good he is, it’s pretty remarkable.
In terms of how he plays the game, he brings something a bit different to our goaltending line-up. Tom (McDonald) and Steve (Gilmartin) are perhaps more ‘technical’ goalies, whereas Greg bases his game more around his reactions and reflexes. Having this breadth in goaltending could be really helpful over the course of the season. I can’t really see any team having a trio of goalies as good as ours.”
We’re happy to have Ruxton and Ratcliffe on board and are now looking forward to seeing them in competitive action! You can sponsor the guys shirts on our OWN & LOAN page in the Fanzone.