Wild netminder Phil Pearson was named Laidler Division Player of the Month for February (Photo by Geoff White).
The YKK-sponsored Widnes Wild may have had a disappointing end to their Laidler Division season, having been placed in fourth position in the final league table by an administrative decision, rather than on the merits of games played, but there has been a little bit of good news, as first choice netminder Philip Pearson was voted Player of the Month for February 2020.
The NIHL awards the Player of the Month for each of their five Divisions for each month of the playing season and these are arrived at by a panel of media experts. This is a superb achievement for the Widnes goaltender and, coming straight after the January award for team-mate Shaun Dippnall, shows what a strong finish to the season the Wild were having.
The icing on the cake came when it was announced that Wild Women’s team player Leen de Decker (photo left) was awarded the February Player of the Month Award for the Women’s Division 1 North as well.
Former Belgian international appearances record holder de Decker missed most of last season but has been truly inspirational since she returned to the ice early in this campaign. She scored 20 goals and eight assists in just seven games, including 4 + 1 in the important 8 – 1 win over Telford and a hat trick in the 2-4 title clinching game away to Solway.
Here again, the Wild Women have featured heavily in the Player of the Month Awards this season as Team Captain Emma Pearson won the Division 1 North Award for the Month of November 2019.
By virtue of her nomination for the League award, de Decker is automatically the Wild Women’s own Player of the Month for February. Previous winners this season have been: Stephanie Drinkwater (October), Emma Pearson (November), Pauline Hayward (December) and Kat Garner (January).