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Raiders need rescue package

21:53 12 August 2014

Mick Cahill and Raiders owner Ollie Oliver share a joke at the end of season awards night in April 2013

Mick Cahill and Raiders owner Ollie Oliver share a joke at the end of season awards night in April 2013

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Owner Oliver decides to step down

London Raiders are looking for a last-minute rescue package to remain on ice after team owner Ollie Oliver decided to step down.

Following the death of manager Mick Cahill late last week, Oliver announced he intended to pass on the reins and supporters and committee members have been looking at a management group running the team instead in the National League this season.

He said: “I’m in a no-win situation. I don’t feel confident we will see the season out and so with this in mind I feel it better to call it a day before we start. I have given it a lot of thought and put a lot of time in also since last season. Much of this has been to no avail. Ice Hockey is a difficult sport to obtain financial support for.

“Whether right or wrong, Mick’s death has made me rethink my future and I intend to cram in as much as I can with my family and friends.

“Hopefully supporters will understand the financial implications and support my decision. I would like to thank each and every one of them, in particular all those that have helped behind the scenes, for their help and support over the last 4 years and of course my first session at Rom Valley Way.

“I am sure we have all got great memories from those times and I sincerely hope that the deserving fans will have cause to celebrate again soon.

“The finances operating from Lee valley are difficult and but for Buttercup (Joan Oliver) I would have pulled the plug last season but she persuaded me to see the season out. I would like to thank her for all the support and huge help over the years.

“One thing is clear; I am certainly going to miss many of you who have also become friends.

“I am aware that some guys that had been assisting me these last few months are looking at ways to try to keep the team running and not only do I wish them well with that but I am willing to support and help them when I can.”

A statement from former team owner John Scott added: “Front end finance of the hockey season, for player registrations, team strip, equipment is a major obstacle and any fans that have already committed to player sponsorship are thanked and should re-confirm their intentions now. Any fan that has not offered sponsorship should think seriously about it now because it could quite literally keep the Raiders on ice.

“In a similar vein, any fans that know of, or work for companies that may be interested in a sponsorship package would be doing the team a great service if they attempted to persuade said company to support the Raiders. Given enough sponsors even relatively small contributions could be vital.

“In previous times the management have been criticised for not informing the fans that they were in trouble. This committee of devoted hockey fans has no such reservations. If the collection bowl has to be passed around every team in the country to keep the team going then that is what will be done. But time is of the essence.

“Discussions have taken place with the league, with Lee Valley Ice Rink and a number of parties interested becoming part of a fans-led management team. If any fans or business owners reading this feel they can make a contribution and wish to commit time (and/or money) to operating and promoting the team then we need to hear from you. We believe it unlikely that any one individual would wish to take on a team which in its previous season lost money so budget cuts have already been put in place to try to restrict this.

“With your support and the required finance we hope to be back to you soon with good news of the teams continued operation. Having seen the competitive squad that Danny Marshall has already assembled it would be a shame to waste his work in the summer. Does the situation look dire? I guess. Do we think we can pull it off? We will only know from the support we get from fans and the hockey community.

“But back to Ollie again for a moment. I hope the fans acknowledge the effort, expense and sometimes courage Ollie, Joan and their family have displayed over the years at the helm of the Raiders. It has been a pleasure working with and assisting you.”

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