Pitchley pleased to ‘stay home’ and sign for a fifth straight season with Raiders
PUBLISHED: 19:00 11 June 2020 | UPDATED: 19:05 11 June 2020
Everyone Active Raiders have re-signed forward JJ Pitchley for a fifth consecutive season as they continue to prepare for the 2020/21 campaign.
The 26-year-old is already 18th on the all-time Raiders appearances list and 31st in the goal scoring ranks and is delighted to be ‘back home’ where he will look to keep adding to those tallies.
Pitchley has made a total of 244 appearances in the gold and blue, picking up 152 points, with 47 of those games coming last season where he picked up 17 points.
“It’s good to be back home again,” Pitchley said.
“The Raiders are my second family, I have been around them since I was a few days old, so some of the older Raiders fans have watched me grow up!”
The former Bracknell Hornets forward admitted it has been a strange period as the country has been in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But Pitchley says everyone’s safety is the priority and revealed he has been finding ways to keep himself entertained throughout.
“It has been odd, but safety is the number one priority above anything else, so it was only right to cut the season short,” he added.
“I think for the first few weeks it was not knowing how long it was going to go on, so lots of gaming that’s for sure.
“I got a pair of roller skates, so I’ve been skating for a few weeks now. Myself and a few of the local boys have been working out a few times a week just to get things going as much as we can with not being able to get to the gym.
“I got a punch bag a few weeks back as well so that’s been keeping me busy and of course I’ve been following the government rules, but I’m just hoping we are able to get back to some kind of normality so we can prepare properly ready for the season to start.
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“I also hope the fans are all staying safe and counting down the days until hockey in Romford starts again.”
Pitchley had also openly stated how he fancied the club’s chances of causing an upset in the National League play-offs to seal a place in the Coventry Finals weekend, based on their form in the final weeks of the season.
He added: “Unfortunately with the Covid-19 outbreak the season was cut short, and I feel last season we as a team was in great form and I seriously liked our chances of not only getting to Coventry but winning a trophy.
“That’s the goal again this season for sure.”
The former Romford junior is setting the bar high for the 2020/21 season as he wants to start pushing further up the National League table.
“The last five years have been a rollercoaster for us as a team. Loosing a rink, playing away from home for so long to now playing in the second flight of UK hockey and competing week in, week out is huge,” he said.
“Now the foundations have been set for the club since we have been back in Romford, it’s now time to be title contenders and get something new in the trophy cabinet.
“This is the longest I’ve been away from an ice rink in my life so I’m itching to get back on the ice and continue preparing for the season ahead.”
Pitchley becomes the ninth summer signing for Raiders, following the returns of Erik Piatak, Aaron Connolly, Brandon Ayliffe, Jack Cooper, Ethan James, Dan Scott and Sean Barry and the signing of another former Romford junior in Harry Gulliver.
“From what I know of we have a lot of the core guys back who have been a good cause to our recent success and some new faces which are only going to add to the already talented team we have,” he added.
“We have a close bunch of guys in the room, so practice and road games are always fun.
“I think with this added break it’s going to make guys that little bit more hungry to get back on the ice and grow that winning mentality we all had from last season.”
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