The Blackburn Hawks and Widnes Wild are pleased to announce two pre-season challenge games will be staged next month as both sides make preparations for their NIHL campaigns.
Blackburn will host the first contest at the Blackburn Ice Arena on Saturday 30 August, before making the journey to Widnes for the return game, the following night, on Sunday 31 August.
It will be the first time the two North West sides have and met since the Wild’s formation a year ago, where the second tier, Laidler Conference side, impressed by reaching the playoffs at their first attempt, only to fall to league champions, the Solihull Barons, in the semi-final.
Hockey in Widnes has gone from strength to strength, with crowds averaging upward of 500 and growing consistently game-by-game.
The Hawks, enjoyed one of their most successful seasons in recent years in 2013/14, pushing Solway for the league title and narrowly losing out to the Sharks in the playoff final. Their second place finish in the league was their best since 1996.
Hawks coach, Jared Owen said: “Competitive ice time is essential to being at peak fitness ahead of the new season, so we’re relishing the opportunity to take on Widnes in what I hope will be two entertaining fixtures for the fans.
“This will be the first time we’ve faced them and I’m sure they will be eager to prove themselves and we expect nothing less than a hard-fought contest. I hope that the Hawks faithful will turn out in force to cheer on the lads and to catch their first glimpse of the new side.”
Matt Lloyd from Widnes Wild said: “In order to grow Ice Hockey in our region it is essential that North West clubs work together for the good of our sport – we hope that these games will give a chance for us to develop long-standing links with Blackburn and develop a friendly rivalry between the two clubs and sets of fans.
“The Hawks have long been the yardstick by which North West teams are judged and therefore if the Wild want to develop and realise our ambitions then we need to compete against the Hawks on a regular basis.”
HAWKS vs Widnes Wild – Saturday 30 August 2014, 5 45 pm
Blackburn Ice Arena
Junior: £3.50 (16 and under)
Family Ticket: £17.00 (2 adults + 2 juniors)
Widnes Wild vs HAWKS – Sunday 31 August 2014, 6 15 pm
Silverblades Arena, Widnes
Fans wishing to purchase tickets for each game can do so ‘on-the-door’ at each arena. The Silverblades Arena, Widnes, has a capacity of 600, of which 340 is seated. Fans are advised to arrive at the Widnes arena well ahead of face off to guarantee a seat.