Raiders return to action in front of a crowd for first time in 18 months
- Credit: John Scott
Everyone Active Raiders return to the ice in front of fans for the first time in nearly 18 months as they begin the new season against Bees IHC.
Head coach Sean Easton and his side travel to Slough Ice Arena to take on Doug Shepherd’s Bees on Saturday (5pm) before hosting the same outfit at Romford's Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday (5.15pm) as they battle to be crowned Everyone Active Cup champions.
The two matches have been set up as competitive friendlies as they prepare for the 2021/22 season after missing out on a normal campaign last year due to the ongoing Covid pandemic.
Captain Aaron Connolly said: “It’s been a tough 18 months for everyone, but hopefully this is the start of returning back to some kind of normality.
“I’m sure the boys will agree it was a strange feeling skating out to an empty building during the Spring Cup and we are buzzing to hear the Gold and Blue in full voice.”
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The captain believes they have a strong squad this year after sticking with a similar core of players, plus adding Rio Grinell-Parke and Tom Relf.
“The team this year has a lot of familiar faces, but with a couple of additions in Rio and Relfy I think we look really strong," he added.
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“We have been skating for a number of weeks now and although practices have been high-paced we just want to put everything we have been working on into a game in front of the gold and blue.
“Although this is technically a pre-season game I can assure you it won’t be played like one.
“It’s the Bees who we have built a real rivalry with over the last few seasons and both teams will be raring to get started and show what they have in store for the coming season.
“The Bees are much like ourselves in the fact their team hasn’t changed much so as we have seen over the last few years it's going to be a gritty tight fought battle.
“It’s great to have you all back so I hope you enjoy the game and don’t forget to bring the noise.”