Raiders' Jack Cooper: Pre-season friendlies vital ahead of new season

Raiders in action against Bees at the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre

Raiders in action against Bees at the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre - Credit: John Scott

Everyone Active Raiders are using pre-season friendlies to make sure they are prepared for the upcoming 2021/22 NIHL National League season. 

The Romford-based outfit will go to take on Basingstoke Bison on Saturday (6.30pm) before then hosting Ashley Tait’s side at the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre the following evening (5.15pm) as they bid to be prepared for the following weekend. 

Raiders defenceman Jack Cooper in action against Bees at the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre

Raiders defenceman Jack Cooper in action against Bees at the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre - Credit: John Scott

They head into those clashes on the back of a 6-6 draw with the Bees on Saturday and a 5-3 defeat on home ice the following night. 

“These games are huge for us in preparation for the big season coming,” Raiders' defenceman Jack Cooper said. 

“We know where we went wrong in the Bees games, so we will be working on that in training to get ready for Basingstoke.  


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“These are the games where we need to put in what we’ve been working on in training and making sure everyone clicks together.” 

The former Romford junior says he knows they must remain focused for the full 60 minutes as they have previously struggled to see out games against Basingstoke. 

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“Basingstoke is always a tough team to play against, they work really well together on and off the puck," he said. 

“We know we can beat them, we just have to stay focused and work hard for the full 60 minutes.” 

The 25-year-old did admit it was nice to be back out on the ice in front of a crowd for the first time in 18 months. 

They did play 12 games behind closed doors during the pandemic but this weekend saw the return of fans, much to the delight of teams across the country. 

“It’s great to be back, good to have an atmosphere back inside the rinks. You can really feel the difference from the Spring Cup already.

Crowds returned to the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre for the first time in more than 18 months

Crowds returned to the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre for the first time in more than 18 months - Credit: John Scott



“I felt like we were the better team for most of the game on both days against the Bees, but just did not capitalise on our chances and made a few silly mistakes which they took advantage of.”

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