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Tributes for Raiders ‘legend’ Tomalin

15:04 16 April 2014

Steve Tomalin (left) and Mick Cahill on the Raiders bench (pic: John Scott)

Steve Tomalin (left) and Mick Cahill on the Raiders bench (pic: John Scott)

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Equipment manager stands down after long service

Raiders management has paid tribute to the efforts of long-serving equipment manager Steve Tomalin, who retired after more than 20 years service to the club this month.

Tomalin, whose son Richard came up through the ranks to captain the senior side and remains among their leading scorers, had been a regular feature on the bench for two decades, helping with repairs and resurfacing the ice.

Team manager Mick Cahill said: “It is impossible to list what Steve has done for the team over the years.

“From watching Richard grow through the Romford junior system on his way to becoming skipper of the Raiders, right up to this month’s last game at Streatham, Steve has been on the Raiders’ bench most of the time, home and away.

“When he retired from the Ford Motor Company and started doing bits at RVW, the ‘bits’ included preparing our ice for matches before dashing back from the Polar Bear shed to the Raiders’ gate.

“I suspect he carries a magic wand on his person because Steve is known for being able to fix anything! I’m convinced that if we gave him a beaten egg, with enough time he could re-separate the white and the yolk and build the shell back around them!

“A bit of sewing here, a bit of riveting, or a few screws, or glue, or tape, or carpentry there and Steve would hand back a reborn piece of equipment. He must have saved the Raiders thousands over the years.

“More than that, he knows the game inside out and has the wisdom that doesn’t always come with experience, but certainly does in Steve’s case.

“He is the players’ friend and ally but he also knows when players are pulling the chute and he has no time for people who cheat their team mates or their public.

“Steve is a fan of old-time hockey and the traditions of the game, but not at any cost. Hard work and a bit of integrity are attributes we can all hope to see in a Raiders team.

“With such a long-term involvement, Steve has a wealth of stories so, if you get the chance, get him to tell you about Herbie’s fractured wrist, or Roger Black’s eagerness when he was on our bench, or the dangers of Marsh coming off, for instance.

“This is not goodbye, because we will still see Steve and Sue at some Raiders games, but it is the end of an era.

“Steve and I have very similar views on British hockey - and on the Raiders - so we’ve always found conversation easy. For that reason and many others, I have to say - Steven, I will miss you on the bench mate and I know that Danny Marshall will echo my sentiments.

“The curry houses near ice rinks are not the only ones who will suffer from your absence and I thank you for all you’ve done for the Raiders.

“You have been a magnificent servant to the team, a great help to me personally and your contribution is immeasurable. Have a long and happy hockey retirement and don’t be a stranger.”

Other tributes poured in from supporters and players, to which Tomalin replied: “I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of good wishes I have received from family, Raiders fans, players, ex-players and management as well as several great characters from other clubs around the world.

“I think this goes to show what a great ‘family’ ice hockey can be and how friends made in this sport can last a long while.

“After about 23 years I am feeling it is time to let someone younger take over all the travelling, carrying and fetching the job entails. The last few years have been a lot easier since Kevin (Davis) was brought on board and now my job is mainly just opening the gate and letting him worry about all the equipment and trying to keep the players kit in one piece.

“I will miss Danny and the team on game days but I will not be a stranger. I will certainly come to some games next season and cheer on the team from the stands.

“Thanks again for the kind words and I hope to see you soon.”

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