Richie Departs The Wildcats

The Swindon Wildcats are sad to announce the end of an era, with former club captain and Swindon legend Lee Richardson not returning to the line-up for the 2017/2018 season.

Lee started his career in Swindon during the 2000/2001 season, and spent some time away before returning ‘home’ during the 2007/2008 season. Last season he was awarded his testimonial game where players from his career returned to celebrate the achievements of #16.

Speaking to Wildcats Sports Editor Ben Callaghan, Lee said he’ll always cherish his time in Swindon and feels the time is right to look to the future and put his family before his own hockey needs.

“I’ll always look back at my time in Swindon fondly. To grow up watching a team and then play for them was a dream come true. When you come into the rink as a young lad, you want to play for the Wildcats and to manage to play 500 career games is a massive honour for me. There a few memories that stand out for me, beating MK Lightning in the 09/10 play-offs was sweet. They won the league against us a few weeks prior and to knock out the champions and make it to Coventry was a massive thing for the team. It was also a massive stepping stone for the club.

I was part of the club getting bigger and bigger each year which was a brilliant thing for me to be a part of. To have the testimonial last year was a massive honour, I played hockey for 27 years and to get those players back in once place and I really enjoyed the entire experience.

The plan for me is to coach the U9 team in Swindon now, it’ll never replace playing but I can’t be selfish now and put my hockey above my kids. Their hockey has to come first. I’ll still be around the Link Centre at Learn to Play sessions. I’m really looking forward to starting my new chapter as a hockey parent.

I’d like to thank the entire fanbase, for their support over the last 10 years. Not just me, but Sam and our children too. Everyone linked to the club have been so welcoming and I’m proud of what I achieved in Swindon and how the club has developed, it won’t happen without the hard work of the backroom staff and the fans. The relationship I’ve had with them has been great and I can’t thank them enough for their support.” said Richardson.

Alongside Lee, Player Coach Aaron Nell also paid tribute to a close friend and praised the impact Lee had on the club during his 10 year spell in Swindon.

“Richie was a big part of the club for 10 years. I can’t say how happy I was for him to have the great testimonial he had, he deserved it. He was the first person in a long time to have a testimonial in Swindon and from when he started to now the club is night and day. He was shocked to see so many people at his testimonial and I’m very happy for him and his family that so many people turned up to make it a special day.

He will obviously be missed on the ice and around the dressing room but we’re happy he’s had a great career in Swindon and he’ll get to spend more time with his family. Hockey takes up a lot of time during the winter and whilst Lee enjoyed that, he’s got young kids who are now starting their hockey journey. Lee wants to start coaching with his kids and whilst it’s sad he won’t be playing anymore, Richie was a great part of our club and he’ll always be welcome here.”

On behalf of everyone at the Swindon Wildcats, we’d like to place on record our thanks for all the work Lee has done for the Wildcats and wish him, his wife Sam and sons Max & Zach all the best for the future. The Richardson name has always been synonymous with the Wildcats and hopefully this is the next step in continuing that later down the line.