The Wild’s game against Solway Sharks on Sunday saw the last appearance in a Widnes shirt for popular defenceman Lee Kemp who is moving to pastures new.
Kemp joined the Wild in the summer of 2015 and in the 7½ years he has been with the club has made 229 appearances, scoring 12 goals and 53 assists.
In terms of all-time Wild appearances he occupies third place in the standings behind Tom Jackson (277) and Ken Armstrong (276) - but he does top the charts in terms of penalty minutes with 477!
That is not to suggest that Lee is an overly aggressive player by any means. While being looked upon as the team’s “enforcer”, he is always more of a “steadying influence” on the ice rather than the stereotype pantomime goon, which is how he came to acquire the nickname “the Sheriff”.
In his time at the Wild, Lee has won 3 Laidler Play Off titles (2017,18,19), the 2018/19 Laidler League championship, the North 21 Cup, the Division 1 National Championship (2021) and the Moralee Cup (2022) as well as numerous MVP and end of season awards.
He was named MVP in his last game for the Wild on Sunday and also received a special presentation in recognition of his long service to the club.
The 35 year old learnt his hockey in the Nottingham junior system and played 2 seasons for the Nottingham Lions and 1 for the Peterborough Islanders in the then ENL before joining the Wild for the 2015/16 season.
He has always lived in the Nottingham area and faced a long commute to Widnes for training and games and he has now decided to play out the rest of his career closer to home.
Talking about his time with Widnes, Kemp said:
“I’ve loved every minute of being at the Wild. I’ve made some friends that will last a long time and it’s been an absolute pleasure to pull on the shirt and play for a special club. I wish the boys well for the remainder of the season and will see everyone again soon.”
“There have been some special times like winning the league and playoff double and, most recently, winning the Moralee Cup against Dundee with the boys – as well as some lows, but we won’t talk about them.”
“For anyone who doesn’t know, my next adventure will be playing for Peterborough Phantoms in the South 2 league so I can’t wait to get going and see what the second half of the season brings.”
“Once again, thank you to everyone who’s affiliated with the Wild for making my time there so special.”