Raiders coach Pitchley pleased to see Hill heading to United States

PUBLISHED: 10:00 03 July 2020

Romford Junior Raiders head coach Ben Pitchley looks on during their Essex derby with Chelmsford Chieftains (pic Nikki Day)

Romford Junior Raiders head coach Ben Pitchley looks on during their Essex derby with Chelmsford Chieftains (pic Nikki Day)


Romford Junior Raiders head coach Ben Pitchley has said he is delighted to see Ewan Hill get a move to the United States Premier Hockey League.

Ewan Hill in action for Raiders (pic Nikki Day)Ewan Hill in action for Raiders (pic Nikki Day)

Talented young forward Hill, 17, will play for Motor City Hockey Club in Detroit next season and Pitchley admits it will certainly help his development.

But he also admitted it will be a big loss to the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre-based club, saying: “I was the head coach at the old rink when Ewan took his first steps on the learn-to-play sessions.

“To see a player start with Romford, having a very different pathway with our old rink closing, having to travel to other clubs to continue playing and then coming back to Romford to finish his junior career, is pretty special.

“He’s not the only one that has had to play hockey this way, but he is the first to decide to ply his talent in the States from the new set-up.

“Opportunities in the States, just regarding games played, is going to be huge for him, plus when you add being on the ice every day and team work outs, you can see the appeal.”

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Pitchley, 47, knows just what Hill can expect on the other side of the Atlantic, having seen his own son JJ spend the 2012-13 season with the Dallas Snipers in the Western States Hockey League.

He added; “JJ had a season in the WSHL at the same age Ewan is now, and he went out a kid, and came back an adult, so the life skills picked up out in Dallas not only helped him with his hockey journey, but also with his independence and work ethic.

“It’s a big loss for the National League Division One Raiders, but it also highlights the fact we are a development programme.

“And the two seasons Ewan has had with the team will only help him when he gets out to Detriot and gets on the ice at Motor City.

“It’s always good to see a player you’ve had a huge input into his development, move on to continue his hockey at the next level, and we wish him all the best with his next chapter of his hockey career.”

Hill scored 45 goals and 38 assists in 45 league games for Raiders, while also netting 75 goals and 48 assists in just 26 games for the under-18s.

He also represented the South East Conference at every age group from under-11 to under-17 and England under-13s at the World Pee-Wee Championships in Quebec in 2015.

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