Tom McDonald impressed over the three trial sessions he attended and after Mick Caunce had asked around about him all the signs were pointing in the right direction, and that direction was over to the players registration forms where Tom seemed to have no qualms atall about the brand-new team.
“I started playing roller hockey when I was 12 near Bournemouth in Dorset. I’d always wanted to play ice hockey and I got my chance when I came to Manchester University in 2001. I started out playing rec hockey (and learning to skate on ice) before signing as the 4th goalie at Freeze in 2005. Unfortunately, I was never able to force my way into the team there and was not re-signed the following season.”
Eager to be getting regular action to expand his experience in goal Tom turned his attention to setting up a University team which was potentially the real start to the ice hockey career behind our new goalkeeper.
“I created the Manchester University team (the Manchester Metros) in 2003 and continued playing for them until 2007 when, after I had been to a goalie school in Michigan for a week which helped hugely improve, I was selected to play for Manchester Phoenix ENL in 2008. In my first season I was originally signed as a backup but, after a number of good performances, I ended up playing more than half the games that year. We came 2nd in the league and I was 2nd in the league on save percentage and 1st in the league on GAA. We played Blackburn Hawks in a promotion/relegation playoff and secured promotion.”
The 6’ft3 shot stopper boasted a GAA that season of just 2.23, a stat which he struggled to replicate while playing in Division 1 with Trafford Metros, until 2010/11 when he came close with a 3.92.
“The last 5 years I have played for Manchester/Trafford, and we had always been fighting to avoid relegation. I had the opportunity to train with Manchester Phoenix when they were in the Elite league as well backing up a couple of EPL games.”
Tom is another Wild-one enjoying his surroundings at the all-new Silver-Blades in Widnes, and getting excited for the season ahead.
“I’m really excited to be joining the Widnes Wild; the Silver Blades rink is great and the team has real ambition. During this summer, I am going to Switzerland to attend François Allaire’s goalie school and I’m hopeful that this will give a big step up in my game. I’m very much looking forward to the coming season.”
With the team now gathering pace and more trialists who are catching the eye of Manager Mick Caunce, he’s not taking any decisions lightly as he tries to form the best team possible with whats available to start the season;
“Following on from signing of Tom I have a difficult couple of days to sort out who we bring on board with him in our first season. Before Thursday I am aiming to inform the other 4 [Netminders] of where they stand and take it from there! I have signed Tom on his performance at training and the glowing reports from several people who I trust and respect.”
Caunce is looking to announce further additions to the squad after the final trials session on Thursday 27th June.