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Goalie Windebank glad to be back on home Romford ice, looking to grab opportunity

PUBLISHED: 16:00 13 September 2018

Brad Windebank and Ben Clements

Brad Windebank and Ben Clements

Archant

Brad Windebank admitted to being ‘a bit gutted’ when the old Rom Valley Way rink closed.

But the young Raiders goalie says it is good to be back in Romford after four years away from home.

The former Royal Liberty pupil began skating at the age of five and celebrated his 16th birthday in July.

And he has joined the club’s National League Division Two roster on a two-day deal with the senior Raiders and said: “I watched it as a kit and felt I wanted to have a go myself.

“I was more concentrated on watching the goelies (Mark Lee and Carl Ambler) and tried it once and just loved it. Scott Wright was my under-10s coach and we were unbeaten for two years I think.”

But Windebank was forced to look elsewhere when the old rink shut its doors in 2013 and initially joined Slough for one season, befoer spending three years with Chelmsford.

He added: “I was a bit gutted when the old rink closed as I had to move club and travel more. I had one year in Slough and three in Chelmsford, we got to national finals twice and lost both times.

“The coaching was better and I improved under Sean Easton. But I was always looking in the news to see when the new rink would be open.”

Windebank was one of a few youngsters included in a photo shoot when work began on the new Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre – “my kit got filthy!” – and appeared for England under-13s at the World Pee-Wee Championships in Quebec, while also going on to play for the under-14s, under-15s and Great Britain under-16s during his time away.

And he got to skate on the new ice when Raiders played Cardiff when the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre opened for business in February, as part of the game-night staff.

Then got to appear between the pipes during the Legends match on Bank Holiday weekend.

“I was pushing the nets around on the ice for the first game back and was a bit nervous, I thought I was going to go over!” he added.

“The Legends game was good fun. It was nice to play for the team I’d watched since growing up, I was a bit nervous, but it was all right.

“I’m always beating myself up after games, blaming myself for any goals. But it’s the perfect opportunity to play and I want to grab it with both hands and try to improve.

“It’s been a long time coming, but it’s good to be back.”

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