A warm Gold and Blue style welcome awaits the debut game for the first new face in the Raiders camp for 21-22 as Thomas Relf will play his home games out of the Sapphire having played most of his senior career in Sheffield.
The 23 year old D-man brings his lofty 6’2” frame to the Raiders blue line, having appeared in the shortened 2020/21 season in all 12 games for the all conquering Sheffield Steeldogs team, and then made three appearances for Slough Jets in the NIHL 1 Cup.
“Relfy” started his ice hockey career in the Bracknell junior system culminating in being a member of the Bracknell Drones National Under 18 champions in 2013/14 who went through the season unbeaten. He was selected for South West Region team for eight consecutive seasons twice being selected to the Conference All Star Team.
He made his senior debut at the age of 16 playing for Bracknell Bees in the EPL. In total he made 77 appearances for Bees, scoring 8 assists, and then 18 appearances for Bracknell Hornets in NIHL South 1 scoring 2+2, before moving north to join the Steeldogs organisation, where his time was split between their EPL and NIHL North 1 teams.
He made 73 appearances for Steeldogs EPL / NIHL National team scoring two goals and nine assists and also their NIHL North team where he made 122 appearances, scoring four goals and 40 assists, winning the NIHL North 1 league title in 2017/18.
In season 2019/20, Tom split the season when in addition to playing for Steeldogs in NIHL National, he also made 14 appearances in NIHL North 1 for Sutton Sting, scoring four goals and 10 assists.
Tom has been selected for international appearances on three occasions, representing Great Britain Under 18 alongside Ethan James, England Under 19 against Scotland in 2016 and for British Universities at the 2019 Universiade.
Tom is looking forward to bringing his recent experiences into the Raiders squad.
“I’m excited to be joining the Raiders this year. Playing against them in the past was never an easy game and you know you’d be going into a battle, and after a few meetings with everyone you can tell why. Sean is a great coach and everyone within the locker room is very tight and will run through walls for each other.
“I’m really excited to see us as a competitive team this year and I think we can build on the solid foundations already in place. I’m coming in with my own expectations to be a player who can be relied upon defensively and help this team win games. I’m looking forward to meeting and hearing the loud fans that the Raiders have had over the last few years”
Sean is pleased to get another quality player on defensive duties.
“Relphy comes to us off the back of two streaming series championships. During that time he has had the pleasure of learning from some of the best British D in the country playing alongside the likes of Ben O’Connor and David Phillips in their time at the Steeldogs.
“He is a solid defensive D man, possesses good size and a calm head on his shoulders. He will bring a lot of composure to our D core and will take pride in his plus / minus figures”
Welcome to Gold and Blue Tom / Relfy.
The rhyming verses will be tricky though.
(Thanks to Dean Wooley and Podium prints for images used)