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Ice Hockey: Raiders reveal award winners

PUBLISHED: 09:57 06 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:36 06 April 2019

Raiders head coach Sean Easton, forward Jake Sylvester, defenceman Dan Scott and players of the year Brandon Ayliffe, Michael Gray and Aaron Connolly celebrate with their awards

Raiders head coach Sean Easton, forward Jake Sylvester, defenceman Dan Scott and players of the year Brandon Ayliffe, Michael Gray and Aaron Connolly celebrate with their awards

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Everyone Active Raiders revealed their main award winners for the 2018-19 season at the end of season presentation party at Pontlands Park on Friday night.

Players and supporters joined forces to celebrate the team’s first full season based at Romford’s Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre, despite the disappointment of bowing out of the National League play-offs to Bracknell Bees a week earlier.

And young forward Brandon Ayliffe was named as the fans’ player of the year for a second successive campaign, having caught the eye with his fast-skating displays and netted some memorable goals in his 32-point haul.

The former Romford junior joins a select group of players to have won the award more than once, following in the footsteps of fellow British player Danny Marshall (1996, 2001), Finnish goalie Mikko Nurminen (1997, 1999) and Canadian legends Rob Stewart (1991, 1992, 1993) and Gord Jeffrey (1989, 1990).

Captain Aaron Connolly earned the coaches player of the year award from Sean Easton and Alan Blyth, having led by example with his tireless efforts to finish as the second-highest scorer on the team with 56 points (25 goals, 31 assists), while goalie Michael Gray took the players’ player of the year prize from his team-mates, following a string of impressive displays between the posts which saw him finish with a 90.8 save percentage.

Meanwhile, Jake Sylvester won the forward of the year prize following his 31-goal return, in a tally of 52 points from 43 games, and Dan Scott took the defenceman of the year award for his consistent displays on the blue line and a 34-point haul (10 goals, 24 assists).

Coach Easton was presented with a Heart of Raiders award, before John Scott offered a host of thanks to complete the formalities.

An auction of players’ jerseys was also held before all could enjoy the rest of the evening and start looking forward to the 2019-20 campaign, when Raides will compete in a new National League alongside Basingstoke, Bracknell, Hull, Leeds, Milton Keynes Lightning, Peterborough, Sheffield, Swindon and Telford.

Raider of the Year (selected by supporters) – 1987-88: Marc Chartier (Can); 1988-89: Gord Jeffrey (Can); 1989-90: Gord Jeffrey (Can); 1990-91: Rob Stewart (Can); 1991-92: Rob Stewart (Can); 1992-93: Rob Stewart (Can); 1993-94: Terry Kurtenbach (Can); 1994-95: no winner; 1995-96: Danny Marshall (GB); 1996-97: Mikko Nurminen (Fin); 1997-98: Henrik Olsson (Swe); 1998-99: Mikko Nurminen (Fin); 1999-2000: Jaakko Komulainen (Fin); 2000-2001: Danny Marshall (GB); 2001-2002: Jamie Randall (GB); 2002-2003: Mark Williams (GB); 2003-2004: Rob Douglas (Can); 2004-2005: Andrew Power (Can); 2005-2006: Kyle Amyotte (Can); 2006-2007: Andrius Kaminskas (Lith); 2007-2008: Mark Lee (GB); 2008-2009: Jan Krajicek (Cze); 2009-2010: Matt Turner (GB); 2010-2011: Juraj Huska (Svk); 2011-2012: Billy Phillips (GB); 2012-2013: Shane Kemp (GB); 2013-2014: David Oliver (GB); 2014-2015: Jacob Ranson (GB); 2015-2016: Marek Nahlik (Svk); 2016-2017: JJ Pitchley (GB); 2017-2018: Brandon Ayliffe (GB); 2018-2019: Brandon Ayliffe (GB).

*Raiders youngster Abbie Sylvester helped Great Britain Women to a 3-2 overtime win over Mexico in their World Champion Division Two A meeting in Dumfries.

GB had beaten Australia 2-1 in their opening fixture, but lost 4-2 to Slovenia on Thursday evening and fell behind early in the middle period.

However, Katie Marsden levelled and Saffron Allen tipped in Casey Traill’s shot two minutes later to turn things around heading into the final period.

Mexico made it all square in the 45th minute and went close to a winner before overtime, when Verity Lewis netted her first senior GB goal aftter 62 seconds.

GB are fourth in the group and play second-placed Spain on Sunday (8pm), before ending their campaign against Korea on Monday, who are currently above them in third.


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