The Wild Academy Jon Little Recognition Award – awarded to Jake Meehan and presented by Jon’s partner Lynda Bird (photo by Hannah Walker)
The end of season awards night for all the Academy junior teams was held at Widnes RUFC clubhouse and was attended by players, coaches, team staff, parents and other family members.
Along with various awards for particular players in each of the team age groups, they were two club-wide awards that were presented for the first time in memory of significant figures who have made an important contribution to ice hockey in Widnes.
The Vernon Neil award was presented in memory of the popular former rink manager at Planet Ice who sadly died in March 2022.
Vernon had been a key figure in the Silver Blades organisation that built and operated the Widnes rink before its merger with Planet Ice. He was rink manager at Widnes for a while and also had stints at Altrincham and Nottingham.
The inaugural Vernon Neil Hardworker Award was presented to Wild Academy Under 12 team player Ben Roberts.
The second award was dedicated in memory of Jon “Bo Bo” Little who was a popular coach at the Wild Junior Academy and who died in May 2020.
Jon played league ice hockey as netminder for the Trafford Metros at Altrincham and was a respected junior coach there for with the various Trafford, Phoenix and Manchester Storm teams.
He was a dedicated supporter of ice hockey at all levels over the years. He was player sponsor for the netminders at Elite League Manchester Storm team and also used top have players lodging at his home.
Jon switched to Widnes in 2018 where he was an important member of the Wild Academy coaching staff and he also bench coached a number of matches for the Wild Women’s team and Widnes based recreational teams.
The recipient of the inaugural Jon Little Recognition Shield was Jake Meehan who plays for the Wild Academy Under 18 team and was also selected for the North Showcase U17 team this season.
The awards were presented by Wild Academy head coach Mike Gilbert, President Terry Gray, manager Danny Cliffe and, as a special gesture, Jon Little’s partner Lynda Bird was called up onto the stage to present his shield to the first ever winner.
The award winners in each age group were as follows:
Players’ Player Of The Season – Harrison Ward
Coaches’ Player Of The Season – Caleb Eddleston
Most Improved Player – Kian Liversage
Players’ Player Of The Season – Ant Norman
Coaches’ Player Of The Season – Ben Roberts
Most Improved Player– Leighton Williams
Most Points For The Season – Jacob Foster
Unsung Hero – Kayton Kan
Players’ Player Of The Season – Callum Sweeney
Coaches’ Player Of The Season – Reece O’Brien
Most Improved Player – Lewis Speare
Most Points For The Season – Jared Knowles
Unsung Hero – Morgan Busby
Players’ Player Of The Season – Jaxon Kirk – Jones
Coaches’ Player Of The Season – Sam Daintith
Most Improved Player– Alfie Gilhooley
Most Points For The Season – Liam Yarwood
Unsung Hero – Sam Hockey
Players’ Player Of The Season – Joel Bark
Coaches’ Player Of The Season – Jake Meehan
Most Improved Player – Ellis Mahar
Most Points For The Season – Luke Mullarkey
Unsung Hero – Ben McLellan
The Widnes Wild Academy Junior Club operates competitive teams at Under 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 levels and also runs introduction and training sessions for children of all ages and abilities – boys and girls – from beginners to advanced.
For more information, contact Wild Academy Head Coach Mike Gilbert by email at: email@example.com or telephone the rink on 0151 420 7930.