Bon Voyage Ratty
Tom “Ratty” Ratcliffe started his hockey career quite late as a U14 playing for the Manchester Phoenix and was blessed with the determination to succeed in his chosen sport playing for the clubâ€™s U14/16 and finally the U18â€™s where he was assistant captain.
â€œI owe so much to my first coach Greg Allan who as a volunteer looking back he had the patients of a Saint. Coach Nick Crawley made me believe in myself and was always willing to put me on the ice as a U16â€™s playing up as a U18 even at times I was punching above my weight.â€
For the last two seasonâ€™s Tom has regularly iced for the highly successful Silver Blades Widnes Wild as a founder member and who compete in the English Ice Hockey Laidler Senior League and this year narrowly missed out on promotion and where home games regularly attract 400 plus spectators. The fans respect this young player who will not let opponents take liberties with some of the less gritty style of play.
â€œEveryoneÂ involved with the WildÂ and especially the coaching team have done a great job and I know with Scott McKenzie as player coach my team are in for another great season. It has been a tough decision to make but with the clubs support I have signed an 8 month contract to play 10 home games and 34 road games for Charlotte Rush who are based in North Carolina and who compete with teams from the Eastern Seaboard of the USPHL.”
“As a U21 I am still classed as a junior in the US so this is the last year I can compete at this level which was the most compelling reason to sign the contract. The owners have been supportive as has Coach Tobin and are allowing me to continue the second year of my Degree in Real Estate via distant learning. With four weekly on and off ice training sessions I hope to return to the Wild a much improved player for the 2016/17 season.â€
â€œI would also like to thank my sponsor Property Alliance Group (PAG) without their support it would have been more difficult to capitalise on this fantastic opportunityâ€, Tom finished.
David Russell Chairman PAG said;
â€œTom did some work experience with Russell Construction and via PAG, CBREâ€™s Manchester office and everyone spoke highly of him. As a thank you he invited me and my Granddaughter to watch a Wild game in Widnes and despite his years this kid is fearless on the ice. I am sure Tom will have an even stronger presence on the ice as a junior and who I know will make new contacts and friends in America and we all wish him every success.â€
The Widnes Wild wish Ratty all the best on his American adventure and look forward to welcoming him back to Widnes next season.