Captain Connolly 'really happy' to be returning to Raiders
- Credit: Josh Scott
Everyone Active Raiders captain Aaron Connolly admitted he is 'really happy' to be returning to the club for a fifth season.
The 29-year-old was the first player to be announced for the 2022-23 National League campaign, following news of head coach Sean Easton being back on the bench.
And Connolly is excited by the work going on behind the scenes to help Raiders overcome the disappointment of missing out on the play-offs last season.
He said: "First and foremost, I’m really happy to be back in the gold and blue for the coming season and excited to get going.
"I know there has been a lot of hard work put in over the last few months to strengthen the team and ultimately get the Raiders competing in the top half of the league."
Raiders finished three points adrift at the bottom of the nine-team division last season, having been deducted three points for failing to fulfil a December home fixture with Swindon due to a number of positive Covid tests in the squad.
But they managed to beat all teams at least once, showing they can be a match for any on their night, and Connolly - who won the players' player of the year award from his teammates - wants to see more of that on a regular basis.
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He added: "As a team we really struggled with consistency last time around and this is something we all need to be accountable for, and for those returning, we need to put right this coming season.
"The foundations in Romford are very strong and with a few tweaks here and there I’m confident the on ice product will continue to grow."
Dan Scott, Thomas Relf and Jake Sylvester have also been confirmed as returnees thus far, with more announcements due in the coming days, but JJ Pitchley has confirmed he will be playing elsewhere and some others might also not be back.
Connolly, who scored a team-leading 35 goals and 24 assists in 52 games last season to finish third overall in scoring, now has 185 points (104 goals, 81 assists) in 163 appearances for Raiders and added: "The sad reality, as with every season, is some familiar faces will not be back.
"I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them and wish them all the best in future."