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London Raiders show support for league and teams

PUBLISHED: 15:00 23 May 2017

JJ Pitchley (left) looks on from the London Raiders bench (pic John Scott)

JJ Pitchley (left) looks on from the London Raiders bench (pic John Scott)

Archant

London Raiders show their sympathy towards the clubs who have pulled out of the National League South One.

London Raiders celebrate a goal against MK Thunder (pic John Scott)London Raiders celebrate a goal against MK Thunder (pic John Scott)

The club is saddened by the loss of the likes of Chelmsford Chieftains, Oxford City Stars and Solent Devils, but they’ve also backed the new look nine team league.

A club statement said: “Our sympathy towards the former NIHL1 teams does not also display itself as animosity towards the ex EPLers.

“They are also victims of the choreography of the EIHA shuffle which has recently had steps added from the Hokey-Cokey.

“Whilst stamping our feet and excluding them from the dance may have suited our own short term ambitions that would be a step too far and their survival is every bit as important as our own.”

The Lee-Valley based outfit will continue to build there team within their budget, no matter what the outcome over the next few weeks.

“The Raiders only means of combating the uncertainty has been to work with a realistic budget and attendance projections changing very little from last season.

“A longer bench will hopefully ensure that the third period legs are no longer the bane of our netminder and recruiting has been done with the new Romford Leisure Development in sharp focus.”

The league has now been left with Basingstoke Bison, Bracknell Bees, Peterborough Phantoms, Swindon Wildcats, Invicta Dynamos, Streatham IHC, Milton Keynes Thunder and Cardiff Fire.

“We can see that that a single league structure with the potential for promotion and demotion may well have some merits towards the long term development of the sport and its players.

“With our own home looming the restoration of the Raiders development programme and a second division team ties in well with that strategy.

“The possibility of moving to tier two was on the agenda once the viability and fan base in the new rink had been assessed.

“The reduction to two non EIHA trained players now makes that ambition a little easier to achieve but the change does come a few seasons prematurely for a well planned structured “promotion”.

“So at this time we can state that we will be supporting the 9 team single conference NIHLS1, but should an arrangement be found that allows further teams to be added we would do what we could to enable that also.”

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