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Everyone Active Raiders keen to develop youngsters in new second team

PUBLISHED: 12:30 25 May 2018

A big crowd welcomed ice hockey back to Romford (pic John Scott)

A big crowd welcomed ice hockey back to Romford (pic John Scott)

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Everyone Active Raiders have had a second team accepted to take place in the National League South Two for the 2018/19 season.

The new side will enter the 15 team league that includes the likes of Basingstoke Buffalo, Bracknell Hornets, Bristol Pitbulls, Cardiff Fire 2, Chelmsford Chieftains, Guildford Phoenix, Haringey Huskies, Invicta Mustangs, Lee Valley Lions, London Raiders 2, Oxford City Stars, Peterborough Phantoms 2, Slough Jets, Solent Devils and Swindon Wildcats 2.

A club statement said: “The Raiders organisation had some rather ambitious plans when they first took the reigns over back in August 2014.

“Of course there was planning with the new rink and the management contractor and more fundamentally how to survive a hand to mouth existence for four seasons in Lee Valley without the benefit of a junior system to work with.

“It was always planned that a full junior system capped with a second senior team would be provided when the team moved to Romford and it is fantastic that this has been possible in the very first full season in the new Romford rink.

“The inclusion of a second senior team in the old Romford rink over a decade ago was a great benefit in allowing the junior players a stepping stone into the Raiders.

“Indeed in the last EPL season the division two team provided a large amount of talent with the likes of Joe Allen, Frankie Harvey, Robbie Vears, Matt France and others making regular appearances to bolster the injury ravaged Raiders.

“Those development opportunities are so much easier to provide when you have the second division team working with the first division team with common goals in mind.

“With a coaching team including Alan Blyth, Sean Easton and head of the junior system Ben Pitchley it is no surprise that we have a great deal of interest for both junior system players and the division two team.

“The chance of working a place into the Raiders team and of course this great new facility we are working within are of course helping the efforts to put together a strong squad from day one.”

The club also revealed they will be using the squad to bolster their youth ranks and develop youngsters.

“The Division Two team will not just be about assembling the strongest squad to rip up the league.

“Its main aim will be to develop players and provide the experience and exposure to senior hockey with occasional forays into the division one team as the opportunities present themselves.

“There is also a great advantage in having common methods and attitudes throughout the entire programme.

“We all like to win and if that development path also provides a winning team then we will take that gladly.

“We have a number of young players that have been training with the Raiders this past year despite not being old enough to play in the senior team.

“That experience with senior players is quite evident in the improvements these guys are showing and we really look forward to being able to accelerate their development even further by providing the second senior team for them to get regular ice time at the next level.”

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