Raiders 'owe it to fans' says returnee Cooper

Jack Cooper is returning to Everyone Active Raiders for another season

Jack Cooper is returning to Everyone Active Raiders for another season - Credit: John Scott

Jack Cooper says Everyone Active Raiders 'owe it to the fans' to do much better after agreeing to return for the 2022-23 season.

Raiders missed out on the National League play-offs last term after finishing bottom of the nine-team division, following a three-point deduction for failing to fulfil a fixture due to positive Covid tests in the squad.

And long-serving defenceman Cooper admits Sean Easton's side need to be more consistent after underachieving.

"It feels great to be back for another year, this club has been a home to me for many years now. I couldn’t see myself playing anywhere else, so I’m happy that Sean has asked me back once again," he said.

"I'm hoping for a much better year, like I'm sure we all are. We underachieved last year regardless of the issues we faced with injuries/Covid. We were not consistent enough. 

"We owe it to Sean and the fans to do much better this year and I’m confident we will and make play-offs this year." 

Raiders will be competing in an enlarged 11-team division next term, following the additions of Bristol Pitbulls and Hull Seahawks.

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And 25-year-old Cooper, who has scored three goals and 37 assists in 325 career appearances for the club, is relishing the extra battles.

He added: "It's going to be good having some new competition in the league this year. I’ve only played Bristol once in senior hockey and that was years ago. 

"They did really well last year in their league so it will be interesting to see how they do stepping up this year. 

"We had great form against Hull a few years ago, so I’m hoping we can do the same this year. There's nothing better than grabbing two points on a big road trip!"

Cooper, who ranks 10th in the club's all-time appearance list, follows captain Aaron Connolly, fellow blueliners Dan Scott and Tom Relf, and home-grown teammates Brandon Ayliffe and Jacob Ranson in returning to the roster.

And with more names due to be announced in the coming days, he says he likes the look of the squad, adding: "Sean has shaped together a good-looking team, now it’s all about putting in the work and getting ready for the season. 

"We need to come out flying and I’m sure we will. I'm looking forward to another year in the gold and blue!"