Smith re-signs, Baldock signs

The Raiders are delighted to welcome back an “old hand” as well as a very promising newbie to the Gold and Blue Colours.

Julian Smith was a notable victim of the Raiders faithful’s considerable voice whenever he appeared for the opposition and for good reason as he brings a great deal of experience as one of the league’s more senior defenceman. He has a physical edge but the sense and judgement to avoid being in the penalty box as often as his physical presence would normally be “rewarded”.

The 2017 / 2018 season will be Julian’s fifth in Gold and Blue colours, having first iced for the Raiders in season 2010/11, making his debut in a 6 – 0 ENL home win against Bristol Pitbulls. Of relevance to this season is he also brings experience at the second tier of British ice hockey from his time at Peterborough Phantoms.

Julian started his career at Peterborough his then home town team, progressing to make his senior debut for Peterborough Phantoms in 2002/3. He played for Great Britain in World Championships at both Under 18 and Under 20. In his time as a Phantom Julian made 286 appearances in EPL League, Cup and Play Off competitions, highlighted by being a member of the all conquering 2008/9 treble winning Phantoms. Julian also made 3 appearances for Nottingham Panthers in the Elite League.

Julian was spirited from the Phantoms to Romford at the end of 2009/10 season, and played for the Raiders for three seasons until the move to Lee Valley. In his final season as a Raider Julian captained the Raiders to the ENL South 1 league title.

Julian then joined Chelmsford Chieftains where in three seasons he won a further three NIHL South league titles, the last two as Captain, in addition to wins in Play Offs, League Cups and South East trophies, including his second career clean sweep in his last season for Chieftains in 2015/6. In all Julian made 141 appearances for Chieftains scoring 6 goals and getting 49 assists for 55 points.

Julian re-joined the Raiders at the start of last season and to date has made 176 appearances in all competitions (123 league appearances) and is ranked 28th in overall Raider appearances. For Raiders Julian has scored 12 goals which together with 91 assists for 103 points (10+71 for 81 league points) for a Raiders scoring ranking of 50th overall.

A calming influence at the back the 30 year old 6’2” D man will be wearing one of the A’s this season as coach Sean Easton added.

“It was a pleasure to work with Jules once before and he is a true leader. An experienced voice in the room and on the ice, which is just what we will need in the tougher league we are now in. Jules is a strong no nonsense D man who will do the little things right and play physical in his own end”.


Julian replied

“I’m really happy to be returning to the Raiders for a second season but my 5th season in total. A return was always on the cards and I am pleased to be teaming up again with Sean Easton. He’s is a great coach and I think with him involved we will become a more technical team. I’m excited by the team that is being put together and we clearly will have better depth this season with some great two way players like Matty Turner. The kids like Jake, Brandon & Ollie that are coming in have proven themselves and they will be a thorn in the side of other teams. It’s going to be an interesting year with the changes that have happened but a great challenge. I’m excited to get started and hear the support from our great fans”.


We can be certain that this is a signing that will delight all of the Raiders fans, despite the fact that Julian just announced our next signing who is…………….

Ollie Baldock
19 year old Ollie Baldock is the first announced player who will be playing in the Raiders Gold and Blue for his debut season in 2017/2018.

Ollie’s junior career was at Chelmsford, apart from one season as a Cardiff Junior Devils. He made 52 appearances for Chelmsford Tomahawks (U/16) plus two tournament appearances for England before progressing to make 43 appearances for the Mohawks at Under 18 level. At both levels Ollie showed his scoring and goal making prowess averaging 2.4 points per game.

Ollie progressed into senior hockey, making his Chelmsford Warriors (NIHL2) and Chieftains (NIHL1) debuts in 2014/15 season. In the following season, his first full season in senior hockey being split between Chieftains and Warriors, Ollie was a productive part of the Chieftains team who won all four trophies on offer whilst also being a member of the Warriors who won all three NIHL trophies. In total Ollie has made 96 Chieftains / Warriors appearances, scoring 61 goals and 69 points for 130 points.

Coach Easton knows Ollie’s game as well as anyone as he elaborated.

“Again sticking to our youth, speed and skill ethos, at just 19 Ollie will also bring a surprisingly calm head. He is a high IQ player that brings a lot of hockey brains to the team enhanced by his experience. As a junior he was a high scoring threat and in his first NIHL 1 season last term he showed that he can play both offensive and defensive. Ollie is a fantastic defensive forward boasting +64 meaning when he is on the ice few goals are conceded but plenty are scored”.


Ollie added

“To be a part of such a big transition in British hockey is a great achievement for both myself and this club. With the league structure changing and Raiders moving back to Romford this season, I am delighted to be joining the Gold and Blue on its move to the ‘Second tier league’.


 

“Entering this new league is a big stepping stone in my career, playing against faster, stronger and in some cases better teams week in week out will only make myself and the team stronger as the season progresses. Going into next season as the underdogs is to be expected, but with the backing of such a large and supportive fan base throughout the season, will lead to many upsets and will make each and every game easier for us players. It’s going to be a tough experience for us all but an enjoyable one, to say the least! Roll on the 2017/18 season!”


Ollie clearly combined very productively with Jake Sylvester last season and Raiders are anticipating that their synergy will be visible again in Raiders colours.

Welcome to the Raiders Ollie!

Ziggy and Sylvester sign for Raiders

The Raiders announcements continue this week on the theme of future proofing and youth inclusion but both of this week’s signings have already proven themselves at this level, eliminating the traditional element of risk.

We are pleased to see the signature of Thomas (Ziggy) Beesley for his second term at the Raiders the day after his 20th Birthday (Thursday 15th) , so happy birthday for yesterday Ziggy!

Ziggy was signed last season as a player well known to coach Alan Blyth but something of a mystery to the rest of us and that included opposition fans and coaches who wondered where this pain in the neck appeared from.

He made an immediate impression, quickly becoming a fans favourite, scoring 7 goals and 15 assists in 40 appearances in all competitions, missing just one game against Milton Keynes. His contribution to the team was recognised by his peers whose’ votes won him a deserved Players Player of the Year award in April.

Before joining Raiders, Ziggy made 58 appearances in the EPIHL for Bracknell Bees scoring 4 goals and six assists, and made an international appearance for England Under 19 against Scotland. Prior to making the step up to senior hockey, Ziggy learned his trade in the Bracknell junior system culminating with being a member of The Bracknell Drones U18 national championship winning team for whom he made 30 appearances, scoring 25 goals and 41 assists for 66 points

No doubt typed with his traditional beaming grin Ziggy added,

“After being in contact with Sean and Alan I’m delighted to be a Raider for a second year! The whole club and my fellow teammates have been really supportive of me during my first year in the capital and it’s been an experience to play amongst guys like Kinger, Julian, Tommy etc. I’m also looking forward to returning to playing against some 2nd tier teams after the league restructure, which will be familiar, especially when playing in Gold and Blue in front of our fans; best in the league I must say! Finally, it will be solid to get on the ice with some of the newer guys coming into the organisation and getting to bond with these players coming in. It will be a long summer in preparation but we won’t disappoint, see you September folks. ZB12”

Sean Easton gave his quick appraisal of his new charge.

“Ziggy’s a youthful speedy forward, that is always a thorn in a d mans side. A great forechecker always hustling to win a battle. Plenty of speed and grit and his agility will be a pain to deal with”

Welcome back Ziggy!

This week’s second signing is another familiar face to the Raiders set up but that familiarity we are sure will not dilute the enthusiasm of his return.

Age 19 now he was another member of the Romford Hornets National Championship Under 16 winning team under Alan Blyths coaching. He iced 58 times for the Hornets scoring 56 goals and 36 assists for 92 points. In the final season at RVW in 2012/13, He made a total of 35 appearances for Hornets and Buccaneers, scoring 70 goals and 41 assists for a total of 111 points.

That early promise has returned results year on year despite the closure of the Romford rink. Moving to the Chelmsford development system he has progressed making 34 appearances for Mohawks, scoring 45 goals and 39 assists for 80 points. He continued into senior hockey for the Warriors in NIHL2 making 62 appearances, scoring 70 goals and 50 assists for 120 points and was a key member of the triple winning Warriors team in 2015/16.

He made his Chieftains debut in 2014/15 season and made 82 appearances scoring 32 goals and 30 assists for 62 points, picking up a clutch of trophies as part of the all-conquering Chieftains squad.

It is worth absorbing those numbers before announcing that Jake Sylvester is the proud possessor of such an impressive record which we are sure he will add to now back in the Gold and Blue.

Jake added

“I am very excited to be returning to the Gold and Blue and to be a part of a club with as much history as this one is an honour. I am looking forward to the challenge this year with the league changes and to have a fan base as large as the Raiders have is going to be exciting to play in front of. It’s going to be a fun season with new team mates and can’t wait to get started”

Sean Easton knows well Jake’s abilities having coached him over the past few years.

“Jake is a real talent having had a fantastic 16/17 season and producing points of a senior player due to playing beyond his age. Jake is a smooth skater, fast, skilful and knows where the net is. That’s our attributes this year, we will be a fast skating skilful team that won’t know when to stop”

Welcome Jake!

NIHL CONFIRMS CUPS, PLAYOFF AND PROMOTION FORMATS FOR NEW SEASON

NIHL CONFIRMS CUPS, PLAYOFF AND PROMOTION FORMATS FOR NEW SEASON

 

A twelve-team national cup competition is one of the main items confirmed by the League Management Committee as National Ice Hockey League format and structure discussions have been concluded ahead of the 2017/18 season.

 

The set up of the league competitions was confirmed late last month with two divisions in each of the north and south sections of the league.  D1 North (Moralee) and D2 North (Laidler) each have ten teams, D1 South (Britton) has nine teams, while D2 South (Wilkinson) has 14 teams.

 

Playoffs for Division 1 teams will feature the top eight sides playing home and away ties over three successive weekends to crown respective north and south champions.  A showpiece finals weekend will then be held with two teams from the north and two from the south to decide the National Playoff Championship.  The date and venue of the finals weekend will be confirmed as soon as possible.

 

Division 2 playoff details are now confirmed.  In D2 North (Laidler) the top four sides will contest a playoff weekend to decide their championship.  D2 South (Wilkinson) will feature the top eight sides playing two legged quarter finals before the final four sides will contest a playoff weekend.  Again dates and venues will be announced as soon as all details are confirmed.

 

Promotion and relegation between divisions in both the north and south have been aligned with both sides operating an automatic one up, one down system.  In year one there will be no automatic relegation from D1 South (Britton) to enable to division to return to ten teams.

 

The LMC are pleased to confirm that a national cup competition for Division 1 sides will take place this season.  Twelve sides will play initially in four regionalised groups, leading to knockout stages with an eventual National Cup Final.


Taking part in the NIHL National Cup are:

Group A: Billingham Stars, Blackburn Hawks, Solway Sharks

Group B: Sheffield Steeldogs, Peterborough Phantoms, Hull Pirates

Group C: Invicta Dynamos, London Raiders, Streatham IHC

Group D: Basingstoke Bison, Bracknell Bees, Swindon Wildcats


Group matches are two home, two away against the other teams for a total of eight games.  The top two sides move to quarter finals to be held in early 2018.

 

Six clubs are also playing an Autumn Trophy which is scheduled to conclude by early December.  The teams will play initially in two groups, playing one home and one away, before semi finals and final follow.  The teams are split as follows:

Group 1: Basingstoke Bison, Peterborough Phantoms, Sheffield Steeldogs

Group 2: Bracknell Bees, Hull Pirates, Swindon Wildcats

 

There is no cup competition for Division 2 clubs in either north or south sections.

 

The 2017/18 NIHL season is currently expected to begin on the weekend of September 2/3.

 

Raiders jerseys revealed for 2017/2018

The Raiders are pleased to reveal the home and away jerseys for this coming season.
Having revealed the new logos earlier on the Facebook page, the boys will be back in navy and gold for the new season.


Thank you as always to our sponsors whose logos appear on the jerseys this and in previous seasons.
If you or your company would like your logo on our shirts then please contact Mel via email at sponsorship@londonraidersihc.com

Raiders warm up shirts revealed for 2017/2018

The London Raiders are delighted to be supporting The National Autistic Society for the 2017/2018 season

To get your hands on one of these beauties you will need to sponsor a player as these will NOT be on general sale so are limited edition.

As per last year these will cost £120, to register your interest for upcoming signings or to sponsor a current player already announced please contact Mel via email at sponsorship@londonraidersihc.com.

WHY PUZZLE PIECES?
From single puzzle pieces, to multiple pieces, from pieces pulled apart to pieces drawn together, the autism puzzle piece meaning strives to incorporate the diversity and multiple characteristics of the condition. The puzzle piece has been used to globally represent autism and its cause.

Please note that these are now SOLD OUT!

Raiders land defensive duo

London Raiders have announced the re-signing of popular defenceman Jack Cooper and the addition of bright young prospect Callum Wells.

Former Albany School pupil Cooper admits it was an easy decision to agree to return to the Lee Valley-based club for the 2017/18 National League season.

The 20-year-old said: “I’m looking forward to another year in the gold and blue.

“I believe we had our best season in a while last year and this year shouldn’t be any different.”

Cooper made 41 appearances, picking up seven assists last campaign, but he believes the team can improve further and has set high targets for the season.

“I am very excited with this upcoming season, I believe we are in for a great year, especially with the new signings we have announced,” he added.

“My personal goal would be to finish as high up the table as possible. I’d like a top-three finish and to try and get at least one trophy this year.”

The former Romford junior is also keen to work with new coach Sean Easton, who has joined from fierce rivals Chelmsford, and is feeling confident despite all of the changes in the league structure during the close season.

“I have only worked with Easton once and that was at South East,” said Cooper.

“I know he is a very good coach and I am excited to work with him this year.

“It’s a bit of a shame that a few of the teams have dropped out of the league, but nevertheless, we have to focus on our game as we are going up against a few tougher opponents. I am confident we will do well.”

Joining Cooper on the blue line next season will be another former Romford junior in Wells, who has spent the last few seasons plying his trade between the Chelmsford Chieftains and Warriors, since the closure of the old Romford ice rink in Rom Valley Way.

The 19-year-old Wells, who has also iced for the Great Britain under-18s and in the England junior set-up, will be the latest to return to the club’s gold and blue jersey.

The pair join Tom Davis, JJ Pitchley, Matt Turner, Olegs Lascenko, Sam Roberts and Brandon Ayliffe on the roster and more signing announcements are expected throughout the summer.

1 new 1 returnee for Raiders

London Raiders have announced the re-signing of coaches player of the year Sam Roberts and the addition of Brandon Ayliffe for the upcoming season.

The Lee-Valley based club welcome back Roberts for his third season in the gold and blue and he is ‘excited’ to get started.

The 28-year-old said: “Another year with the mighty raiders and to say I’m excited is an understatement.

“Being back at Raiders is like a massive family the fans play a massive part in the game and I’m sure they will be as loud as ever come the start of the season.

“Last year I seemed to have found my feet more and played some much better hockey from the previous year.

“I’m hoping working along side Sean and Blythy will improve me even more.”

Roberts made 41 appearances, scoring six goals with seven assists for 13 points last campaign.

Joining him on the roster is former Romford junior Ayliffe, who has spent his years plying his trade at Chelmsford Chieftains and Warriors, since Romford ice rink closed down.

18-year-old forward said: “It feels good to be returning, Romford is where I started my hockey career and it feels brilliant to be back.

“The biggest reason is the league structure this year new teams are coming into the league, which means a new challenge not just for the team but for the club as well and I want to push my self to make me a better player and to also see a good future which Romford can do like it has before.”

The youngster admitted newly-appointed coach Sean Easton played a big part in his return to the club and he has also set himself goals for the season.

“Sean Easton did play a part a little as he is a great coach he coached me at Chelmsford and helped me be the player I am today, I still think there are still some learning curves I need which I know Sean will help with.

“My personal goals is to make myself better as a player but main goal is to bring a trophies home and make playoffs.”

The pair join Tom Davis, Jj Pitchley, Matt Turner and Olegs Lascenko on the roster.

Pitchley & Turner sign for Raiders

London Raiders have announced the re-signing of Supporters’ Player of the Year Jj Pitchley for the upcoming season.

The 23-year-old, who also bagged the forward of the year award, is ‘happy’ to be back at his hometown club for another campaign and is hoping for a big year.

Pitchley said: “For myself, it’s a big year – with the top EPL Brits dropping into the league it’s a test for me and another challenge.

“One I’m happy to accept and take in my stride.

“The better standard of hockey next year will be good for every player in the league.”

The former St Edwards student also spoke of his delight to be back playing in front of the Raiders fans again.

“One thing that helped us hugely last year was the support and noise from the fans.

“As I say they truly are the best fans in the league and I cannot wait to hear them come September.”

The forward, who has spent time at Bracknell, Slough and Basingstoke is looking forward to working with new coach Sean Easton and moving to the new rink in Romford.

“When I found out Sean was coming on board and when he spoke to me I was more than happy to re-sign,” he added.

“We had a good run last year and with the league change I’m eager to be a part of the last year away from home and continue the rebuilding process for the raiders.”

Pitchley, who was the joint club top scorer, putting up 26 goals and 26 assists for 52 points in 39 appearances is excited by the team plans and is already preparing himself for the new campaign.

“I’m speaking with Sean most weeks and believe he is putting a good group of guys together,” he said.

“It’s still early on in the summer, but lots still to come out.

“For me it’s time to hit the gym and recover ahead of September.”

He joins Tom Davis and Olegs Lascenko on the roster and Matt Turner, who was this morning announced as Raiders fourth signing this summer.

Turner returns to Raiders after four seasons with his home town Chelmsford Chieftains, where he made 215 appearances, scoring 126 goals and making 168 assists.

Turner said: “It’s great to be back wearing the Gold and Blue and I am really looking forward to challenging the top teams.”

Raiders announce first 2 players

London Raiders have announced the re-signing of captain Tom Davis and addition of Olegs Lascenko for the upcoming season.

The club welcome back Davis, who is currently joint seventh with David Oliver on 321 appearances in all competitions, for his ninth consecutive season,

The forward has been productive in those games picking up 62 goals and 128 assists for 190 points, putting him 12th in the all-time scoring ranks.

A club statement said: “Whilst Tom is hardly old with his 27th birthday looming, the coming weeks are certainly going to have a something old, something new feel to them.”

The club also announced the signing of former Romford junior Olegs Lascenko back to the gold and blue.

The Latvian-born 19-year-old already has a wealth of experience, after playing for the junior set-up for a handful of years, before moving on to play for Chelmsford under-18s and for the Warriors in NIHL 2.

Lascenko then went on to ply his trade in his native country for Leipaja at both junior and senior levels, while also making one international appearance for the Latvia under-18s.

Midway through his second season he returned to Chelmsford to play for Chieftains, making 26 appearances and scoring 13 goals and five assists for 18 points, winning the league and play-off titles.

Since then he has split his time with the Chieftains and more recently in the EPL with Bracknell Bees, where he made 45 appearances, scoring eight goals with 10 assists for 18 points.

The statement added: “Described as a workhorse whose dedication to his fitness empowers his never-say-die attitude we can’t wait to get him back in the gold and blue.”

The Raiders will be making more announcements throughout the summer.

Easton joins Blyth on the bench for Raiders

London Raiders have announced the signing of coach Sean Easton in a move they hope will allow the club to return to former glories when they move back to Romford next year.

Former Chelmsford coach Easton will join forces on the bench with Alan Blyth and has an impressive hockey CV, having helped to develop the careers of many promising young players.

And club management are hoping to see that maintained when a new rink is opened at the Romford Leisure Development in the town centre, with a statement saying: “The operation of the Raiders over the past three seasons has been a mixture of imminent year planning and future operation.

“The team’s frustration at losing its own rink and with that the very successful junior programme has barely been compensated by the knowledge that in time both would be available again.

“With the rink completion now expected to be well under 12 months away we had to expect that becoming part of the plans for a brand new hockey club, in a new local rink, run by some of the most enthusiastic of fans and coaches, would be a tempting proposition.

“Sean Easton is to join Alan Blyth and the Raiders management for the 2017-18 season and we confidently expect that relationship running the Raiders will cement a coaching union which, with the addition of other key staff in the new Romford Leisure Development, will quickly return the Romford name to the “club team” column of the conference and GB squad lists.

“Sean is a very well-respected coach at senior level and for his work with developing players locally and at conference and national level. His significant achievements at National League and various junior age groups are very well known and would fill a very lengthy CV.

“Sean and Alan will be working together this coming summer to strengthen the team both numerically and in the methods used on and off the ice so the fans should expect regular announcements of returning players and we expect some key additions.”

But while Raiders fans can look forward to some exciting news with regards to the make-up of their squad for next season, the sport is facing an uncertain future.

It was reported this week that several English Premier League teams had been advised to apply for the National League, whose existing teams are due to meet on May 7 to set out a structure for the 2017-18 competition.

And some are unsure as to whether or not new teams, used to operating with bigger budgets, will be welcome additions or prove problematic.

The tier three National League was arguably more competitive than the top-level Elite League and tier two Premier League last season, and a Raiders statement added: “There will doubtless be lengthy debates regarding whether this will be healthy for the National League. Some will argue that the bigger travelling fan bases of the ex-EPL teams will boost the income normally expected by the NIHL teams.

Others will argue that the larger budgets of these teams, due to successfully operating at a higher level, will mean that they will dominate the player transfer market and render the majority of the games as uncompetitive processions.

“Invariably in these situations the truth tends to sit somewhere between the two extremes.

“The meeting on May 7 will no doubt see National League owners trying to protect the multi-year investment that has seen their league widely recognised as the most sustainable in the UK.

“The EIHA and ex-EPL teams however will understandably and rightly seek to ensure they continue to operate, protecting their own investments, and agree to meet any reasonable conditions National League owners feel would keep the operating structures relatively level.

“Hopefully the final outcome will not disrupt the economics that have thus far created an entertaining and competitive National League.”