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Raiders facing triple header on return as the US Military All-Stars fly in for a friendly

PUBLISHED: 11:00 04 January 2019

Raiders defenceman Jack Cooper skating with the fans (Pic: John Scott)

Raiders defenceman Jack Cooper skating with the fans (Pic: John Scott)

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Everyone Active Raiders face a triple header this weekend with a challenge match and two National League fixtures.

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly skating with the fans (Pic: John Scott)Raiders captain Aaron Connolly skating with the fans (Pic: John Scott)

The Romford-based outfit will welcome a US military Colleges All Stars side to the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre tonight (Friday, 5.15pm) before welcoming Streatham IHC the following night and heading to Peterborough on Sunday.

The American team will be made up of the best student hockey talent from The Citadel (The Military College of South Carolina) and The United States Naval Academy (Annapolis) and will be coached by a familiar face in Ed Courtenay.

The 50-year-old Courtenay played at the highest level on both sides of the Atlantic and most will remember his time in the UK with the Sheffield Steelers and Belfast Giants.

He also went on to coach the Giants and the defunct Newcastle Vipers and Manchester Phoenix, playing against Romford Raiders during the 2009/10 English Premier League season.

But his real success was being selected by the San Jose Sharks in the 1991 Dispersal Draft when the NHL expanded.

The right winger went on to play 44 games in the NHL, before travelling around North America and the UK.

Courtenay is now leading the All-Star team in four different matches including a clash with the Sheffield Steeldogs last night.

And they will come up against an in-form Raiders on their opening weekend of 2019.

Defenceman Jack Cooper said: “It’s going to be tough with three consecutive games and it will be good to face some new opponents, especially some from abroad.”

The 22-year-old insists the league action is vital as well, as they need to keep their good run alive after recording seven consecutive wins before Christmas.

And the youngster expects two tough challenges against the Redhawks and Phantoms.

“The first weekend of 2019 is going to be very tough,” addedc Cooper.

“They’re both strong teams, but we just need to carry on what we have been doing, as we’re on a seven-game streak and we need to keep that going.”

Raiders will be hoping to start 2019 where they left off in 2018 as they look to chase down the front-runners in the National League Division One South.

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