Romford Junior Raiders announce Mark Saunders as coach

Mark Saunders has been appointed as head coach of Romford Junior Raiders (Pic: Raiders)

Mark Saunders has been appointed as head coach of Romford Junior Raiders (Pic: Raiders) - Credit: Archant

Romford Junior Raiders have begun planning for the 2021-22 season by bringing back head coach Mark Saunders to run the NIHL 1 South team. 

The 35-year-old led the Bracknell Hornets to fourth place during the 2019-20 but was left without a club due to the John Nike Leisure Centre closing down and quickly was snapped up by the Raiders. 

The 2020-21 season then never went ahead due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but the coach has committed himself for the upcoming campaign and is already recruiting his squad. 

“I’m delighted to be back (starting, due to the season lost to COVID!) in Romford for the upcoming 2021/22 season and am excited to get going,” Saunders said. 

“Hockey has been a long time coming for a lot of players, coaches and fans and I’m looking forward to getting a highly competitive, young and hungry team together to push each other and drive our success once the league gets going.” 

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The former defenceman has set out his aim of creating a pathway for youngsters to battle it out to make the Raiders National League side in the future. 

“My main aim is to provide a pathway for our young talent to come through and eventually push for a Raiders team slot, so fans can expect outstanding young talent coupled with a great work ethic to be icing for us when we eventually get started in September," he added.

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“Stay safe this summer and see you in the Autumn.” 

Romford Junior Ice Hockey Club head coach Ben Pitchley added: “Obviously we are looking forward to getting the team back on the ice come September, and with the re-appointment of Mark as the NIHL1 team's head coach, it shows our intent to continue our player development pathway within the club. 

“Mark has been given a clear vision on how this team needs to look and play next season, and is already on the recruitment trail, for players that fit our programme.

“With the under-18s that we already have in the club, it's going to be a younger, hungrier team than we have previously put on the ice.”

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