The YKK sponsored Widnes Wild are pleased to announce that Player Coach Richard Haggar will return to lead the club for the new 2022/23 NIHL season.
Haggar guided the Wild team to their best ever league position last season – 3rd in the North 1 Moralee Division – and also secured the Moralee Cup all in their first year in the higher division and he also ended up with the highest number of assists in the league standings with 42 from 28 games, putting him in 3rd place in terms of overall points scored.
Richard joined the Wild back in February 2021 as part of Ollie Barron’s squad that went on to win the 4–team NIHL North Cup and he finished as top scorer in the competition with 7 goals and 11 assists in 6 games. He then stepped up to take on the role as player/coach for the Three Rivers Cup competition, leading the team to runners up spot and then to the Division 1 National Championship title in Sheffield in June 2021.
He learned his ice hockey in his native Hull and came though the highly respected Kingston junior system, also making regional conference appearances at every age level.
Richard made his senior competitive debut for the Kingston Jets in the – then – English National League in 2006, aged just 16 and turned out for them 74 times over 5 seasons while, at the same time, making over 100 appearances for the various junior teams. He also played 4 seasons of University hockey for the Hull Ice Hogs team, notching up 120 goals and 76 assists in just 46 games.
Haggar was the top points scorer in the re-branded Hull Jets team in the NIHL Laidler Division from 2016 to 2021 with 162 goals and 182 assists in 114 games and the winner of numerous All Star and player awards. He was also a member of the Hull team that just pipped Widnes Wild to the league title in 2020 in the Covid-disrupted Laidler Division season.
Speaking about his return for the new season, Haggar said:
“Firstly, I would like to say thank you to Matt Lloyd for everything he did for Widnes and giving me the opportunity to lead Widnes last year. However, I am happy to announce that I will be back this season with the Wild. I am looking forward to continuing to build on our success of last season.”
“It was a pleasure to be involved with the organisation last year and the set-up at this level is second to none. I am also looking forward to working with Danny and Georgia as they aim to continue the development of Widnes.”
“Last season we exceeded everyone’s expectations of us being our first season in D1. However, this is only the beginning of what Wez, Danny, Georgia and I want to achieve and will strive to push Widnes to new heights again this season.”
“I can’t wait to see all the Wild ones again in September!”
Commenting on Haggar’s return as player / coach, Widnes Wild General Manager Wez Spurrett said:
“Richard proved last year that he was ready for the role of Head coach with a prosperous debut season, and I personally saw how much he grew within the role since undertaking it. I know how committed he is to Wild and how much he wants to grow on last year’s successes. I have every confidence that he will be able to better his amazing last season.”
Richard will wear the number #19 for the forthcoming season. His home, away and warm up shirts will be available to “own and loan”. Full details will be announced shortly.
Player trial dates for the new season will be announced next week, but if anyone is interested in joining the team they can email Richard at Richard.Haggar@WidnesWild.co.uk