The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild are pleased to announce the return of forward Thomas Ratcliffe for the forthcoming 2019/20 Laidler Division season.
This will be Ratcliffe’s 7th season with the Wild, although he missed most of last season due to work commitments.
Ratcliffe played his early hockey with the Manchester Phoenix junior teams at Altrincham before joining the Wild for their debut 2013/14 season. He spent part of the 2015/16 season gaining invaluable hockey experience in the USA where played for Charlotte Rush in the USPHL tier 3 junior league, scoring 5+8 in 37 games.
Ratcliffe has played 111 games for Widnes over his 6 seasons, scoring 17+24 and picking up 316 PIM. He also played 14 league and cup games for Elite League team Manchester Storm in the 2016/17 season.
Talking about his return to the Wild for another season, Tom said:
“When I saw that Mike Clancy had been appointed as Head Coach for the coming season I was very pleased for Widnes. I was even more pleased for myself when I got a phone call from Mike asking if I would come back to join the team.”
“Last season was a busy time for me. With starting a new business, along with my ongoing education commitments, I wasn’t able to make all training session or games. I felt it wasn’t fair for me to be anything other than 100% committed to Widnes as I don’t like doing things half-heartedly. It was a tough decision but the right decision at the time and it gave me great pleasure seeing Widnes lift two trophies – even if wasn’t on the ice for it.”
“Looking ahead I think having the level of experience that Widnes does in terms of coaching staff is something I am very excited in being involved in. The idea of combining education and hockey in this country is something that is lacking from clubs and I am really behind what Mike is bringing to Widnes. Also, I have never looked forward to coming back to play hockey so much – and a big part of that is down to having the opportunity to ice with my brother Charlie for the first time since we both started playing. I’m looking forward to an exciting, challenging and most importantly successful season with the Wild.”
Talking about the return of Ratcliffe to the Widnes team, Wild head coach Mike Clancy said:
“I’m pleased we can confirm the signing of Tom Ratcliffe. He has been a big part of the Wild organisation since its very first year 2013/14 and, other than a short education/hockey break in the States, he’s been a great servant to the club. He is a very loyal guy and that trait is shown in the way he plays which is full blooded and never giving less than 100% to the team.”
“When I noticed Tom had missed a good portion of last season, it struck me as a little strange as he has always been a constant in the Wild’s teams for as long as I can remember. To hear that the new business venture and working through some education commitments were the only reasons for the playing gap, I was greatly relieved and made it one of my early calls along with brother Charlie.”
“Tom brings a good work ethic along with some great experience of the education/hockey pathway and I feel we can really use Tom’s experiences to help develop us as a club whilst offering support to the younger players coming in.”
Thomas will once again be wearing the number 40 shirt this season and his home, away and warm-up shirts are available to own ‘n’ loan. More information can be found by following this link.