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Raiders announce the return of defensive duo Cooper and Connolly for 2018/19 season

PUBLISHED: 19:30 10 May 2018

London Raiders defenceman Jack Cooper (Pic: John Scott)

London Raiders defenceman Jack Cooper (Pic: John Scott)

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Everyone Active Raiders has announced a pair of re-signings in defenceman Jack Cooper and John Connolly ahead of the 2018/19 season.

John Connolly returns to Raiders for a fourth season (Pic: John Scott)John Connolly returns to Raiders for a fourth season (Pic: John Scott)

The 21-year-old Cooper returns for returns for his fifth season in the gold and blue since joining from Haringey Racers.

The former Albany School student progressed through the Romford junior ranks, before starting his senior career with Romford Fury in National League Division Two, but following the closure of the old rink in Rom Valley Way he moved to the Haringey Racers.

Cooper returned to the Raiders to make his debut at Lee Valley against Chelmsford Chieftains, and has made 157 appearances in all competitions, including 114 in National League Division One, and scored two goals and 24 assists.

Cooper’s first goal came in his 131st Raiders appearance in Cardiff in December 2017 and just surpassed fellow defenceman Tyrone Miller’s previous record total of going 108 consecutive games without scoring.

“It’s good to be back, we had a great season last year and did more than was expected of us,” said Cooper. “I’m excited for this year as it will be our first full season in our new rink.

“Although we haven’t been at Romford long, it feels like home already.”

The club, with goalie Michael Gray already on board, also announced the return of experienced defenceman Connolly for his fourth term.

Since joining the Raiders, the Scot has made 99 appearances, scoring six goals and 35 assists.

The former Great Britain under-18s and under-20s player has also been the assistant captain in the last two seasons.

Connolly started his senior career at home in Scotland making 54 appearances for Braehead and Edinburgh, before making a total of 61 appearances for English Premier League clubs Slough Jets, Manchester Phoenix and Milton Keynes Lightning.

He had a brief spell with MHS Kazakhmys in Russia MHL League in 2011/12, before returning to play for Solway in NIHL North, where he picked up a league winner’s trophy.

The 27-year-old then moved to Chelmsford where he made 98 appearances in all competitions, scoring 10 goals and 64 assists for 74 points, picking up league and play-off winners’ medals.

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