Raiders defensive duo Connolly and Smith depart

PUBLISHED: 10:00 20 May 2019

Raiders defenceman John Connolly in action against Basingstoke Bison (Pic: Kev Lamb)

Raiders defenceman John Connolly in action against Basingstoke Bison (Pic: Kev Lamb)

© Lambpix

Everyone Active Raiders defensive duo John Connolly and Julian Smith have both left the club for local rivals Chelmsford Chieftains.

Raiders defenceman Julian Smith looks on (pic Kev Lamb)Raiders defenceman Julian Smith looks on (pic Kev Lamb)

The two defenceman have decided to step away from the Romford-based club after they decided to step up into the National League.

The 28-year-old Connolly has spent five seasons in the gold and blue making a total of 131 appearances.

The Scotsman picked up seven goals and 47 assists during his time at the club for a total of 54 points.

"I'm happy to have signed back at Chelmsford for the upcoming season," he told Chelmsford Chieftains club website.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time when I was last with the Chieftains.

"We had a very successful campaign that year and with the team that Joe (Wilson) is putting together we are hoping to replicate that.

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"I look forward to seeing you all in September."

Long-serving defenceman Smith also leaves the club after nine seasons at the club in two different stints.

The 32-year-old made 264 appearances in the gold and blue picking up 13 goals and 106 assists for a total of 119 points.

"I am obviously over the moon to be returning to a club like Chelmsford.

"A club that has a great hockey reputation and a history of winning silverware.

"For me personally I hold this club close to my heart, I feel I played some of my best years of hockey here and was luckily enough to win nine trophies in three seasons.

"I am keen to get started so the team and I can continue building on the success they had last season.

"The team that is being put together is exciting and will hopefully be a firm contender in the league.

"I can't wait to pull on the black and gold jersey again and step back out in front of the fans."

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