Prize guy Connolly desperate to return for a third Raiders season after securing double

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 May 2020

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly (pic John Scott)

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly (pic John Scott)


Double award winner Aaron Connolly is back with Everyone Active Raiders for a third consecutive season and says he is ‘desperate’ to get back on the ice.

The captain received the players’ player and forward of the year awards in the club’s first-ever virtual end of season presentation evening after impressing throughout the 2019/20 campaign.

In an ever-present 52 appearances, he scored 39 goals and 21 assists for a total of 60 points – meaning the forward ended up as the club’s top goal and points scorer during the campaign.

And the 26-year-old was quick to admit being stuck indoors during the coronavirus pandemic has probably made him keen to fast forward to when the season starts.

“I don’t know if it’s because we aren’t allowed to do anything right now, but personally I am desperate to get back on the ice as soon as possible,” Connolly said.

“In saying that, though, I do understand the position we are in and, as mentioned, we need to make sure we are all safe. Who knows what next year will bring, I just hope we can have some form of hockey in 20-21.”

Captain Connolly says when the new season does start there is unfinished business after having last season cut short due by the coronavirus outbreak.

“There’s definitely unfinished business, and it’s a shame last season’s group of men won’t be together again to finish off what we started, but the situation we are currently in is a lot bigger than hockey,” he added.

“Keeping everyone involved in this great club safe has to be the main focus before we even start thinking about playing again.”

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But he did admit the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre is now starting to feel like home as he returns for a third campaign, adding: “For sure, if I’m completely honest it was difficult to start with, but now it feels like home. I’m more than happy here.

“I think the club is in a great place and hopefully I can be part of the building process to success.”

The former Basingstoke Bison winger also revealed he was shocked to bag two awards and felt they could have gone to a number of players, adding: “I wasn’t even expecting to get one, so to receive two was a massive shock.

“However I’d like to point out that there was a lot of good performances over the course of the season and I think there would have been lots of worthy winners for the two I got.

“Obviously, I’m delighted to receive such an award and it means so much to me coming from the guys I went to battle with every night, so thanks lads.”

Lockdown has been tough for many people, but Connolly believes he has been fortunate enough to continue working from home thanks to his company.

And he has also been using the time wisely to keep up his fitness levels for when he can return to the ice.

Although he did admit video chats seem to be taking over his social life as he tries to stay in touch with friends and family.

“I’m actually one of the really fortunate ones as I work for a large company that have been really good and set us all up to work from home without any issues so that keeps me busy in the days,” he said.

“Other than that I’ve been trying to keep my fitness up as best as possible ahead of next season. Oh and Zoom chats seem to overtaking my life!”

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