Leeds Knights: Ryan Aldridge - His career so far and what rival coaches and players past and present have to say about him

RYAN ALDRIDGE has signed a new, two-year deal to remain as head coach at Leeds Knights, it was revealed this morning.

By Phil Harrison
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 11:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 2:10 pm

Here are the thoughts of some former team-mates and players on how highly they rate him.

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Leeds Knights secure coach Ryan Aldridge on new deal to help realise their ambit...

Aaron Nell: (played for Aldridge at Swindon, now Wildcats coach): “Ryan’s coached me more than any other coach and when you become a coach you take things from all the coaches who you have played for and so I’ve taken a lot from Ryan.

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Matthew Davies (left) Aaron Nell and Kieran Brown

“He did a great job in Swindon, he really helped build the club up to where it is now and put in a lot of hard yards to do that. He wears his heart on his sleeve and he has a lot of passion for the game. Everybody could see he was good fit for Leeds when he went there and he just wants to push them on to keep improving.”

MORE – Leeds Knights owner Steve Nell on the first 12 months and his plans for the 2022-23 NIHL National season

Matty Davies: (played alongside Aldridge at Swindon in 2008-09 and for him at Leeds Knights last season): “I’ve known Ryan a long, long time. I played with him years ago at Swindon but we’ve kept in touch at some level ever since. Then when he came in at Leeds it was great.

“We had a lot of stuff in common and we just see the game in a similar way. He might have leant on me a little bit, I definitely leant on him a lot at Leeds and I thank Ryan for what he did for me. Ryan loves the game more than anyone I know, he absolutely lives for it and just to see that again at Leeds was brilliant.”

Leeds Knights have secured Ryan Aldridge as head coach on a two-year deal. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Kieran Brown: (Leeds Knights forward): “Since he came in, Ryan’s really been pushing for me to be an all-round player and my defensive game has come on. I feel like a better, all-round player, probably because of playing in all of the different roles.

“I’d never really played on the penalty kill before at this level, so being given the chance to be able to play in those sort of situations has been very satisfying. It’s a challenge for me to show I can play that kind of game. Ryan’s given me the chance to play those positions and it’s been great.”

Ryan Aldridge: Factfile and his career so far ...

Born: Swindon, June 1978. Playing career – Made senior debut playing forward for Swindon Wildcats in 1996, spending much of his career there, punctuated by spells at Basingstoke Bison and Bracknell Bees, and finishing with handful of games for the Wildcats in 2016-17.

Coaching career – 2005: Becomes player-assistant coach while at Bracknell Bees.

2006: Steps up to become player-coach at Bracknell, leading them to the English Premier Ice Hockey League championship and play-off double.

2007: Becomes player-coach at Basingstoke Bison in Elite League.

2008: Leaves Bison to take on player-coach role back in the EPIHL at Swindon Wildcats, his first time working for owner Steve Nell.

2012-13: Adds assistant-coach role at Swindon-based Okanagan Hockey Academy, also owned by Nell.

2014: Steps down as Swindon head coach and concentrates time at Okanagan.

January 2022: While still part-time at Okanagan, replaces Dave Whistle as head coach at Leeds Knights.

May 2022: Signs two-year deal to become Knights’ head coach on permanent basis.