Russ Richardson interview

Friday, 29th August 2003

Born and raised in Greater Manchester, Russ Richardson was first bitten by the ice hockey bug as a youngster. “My mum took my brother and me to Altrincham Ice Rink one night to go ice skating – she said we should try that because we were so terrible at football. We liked it and once we had been a few times and got used to skates and having met a few of the hockey players, they suggested we try out at hockey so we did.” So a chance visit to Altrincham set Russ on his way and very soon after that first skating session he tried out for the Altrincham junior development teams and was truly bitten by the hockey bug.

Throughout his years of learning the game in Altrincham, Russ cites coach Paul ‘Nipper’ Bayliss and Peter Johnson from his time on Humberside as the biggest influence upon him outside of his family. “My mum and stepdad have been so supportive of myself and Arran, we couldn’t have done it without them behind us. Nipper has always been there, he shouts a lot and swears a lot too, but it’s because he’s passionate about the game and he wants those who play for him to be that way too.”

Apart from his limited experience with the Manchester Storm in Superleague, Russ has no doubts about the highlights of his career to date. “The Great Britain tour to South Africa was a great experience, and last season playing for Altrincham with all my friends. We knew it was the last season for the Aces and we really gave it a go. We reached the playoff final against Basingstoke and because the Devonshire Road rink was closed, we had to play the ‘home’ leg at Blackburn. We lost 10-9 over the two legs, but it was a great last year for the Aces.” Russ enjoyed last season and will carry the memories for a long time, so much so that he collectively cites the Aces of 2002/03 as his favourite UK players.

Now a recruit of the Manchester Phoenix, Russ has another chance to pursue his dream of playing hockey at the highest level possible and his philosophy for the forthcoming season is beautifully simple. “My ambition is to play to the best of my ability and put in 100% at all times.”

Phoenix Head Coach Rick Brebant commented, “Right from the first time I saw Russ at the first of our trials sessions in Blackburn, I could see that he has great potential. He’s well built, strong and skates quite well. The strength and conditioning programme that the local players have been working to over the summer will help him as he steps up towards playing against bigger and stronger players and I have every confidence that with the right application and work ethic, Russ can play a major part for the Phoenix this season.”