As far as the Raiders are concerned all eyes are on the announcements from central and local government, Sports England and our representative body the English Ice Hockey Association. (EIHA)
The National League team owner regularly exchange emails and attend Zoom meetings to discuss the various options and scenarious and conditions that the league start will need to consider.
All last season’s teams are determined to take part this coming season and the appetite is strong to have a full 26 week league season with pre-season challenges, post season play offs and Coventry and mid week games for cup semi-finals and finals.
It is clear that the league will not start at the normal mid September weekend that we have become accustomed to. To facilitate the above it is very likely that a season-end far beyond the normal finish at the end of March will be necessary.
Limitations on the number of fans allowed in the rinks will be key to starting also. Most teams are unable to operate viably with crowds significantly smaller than the normal average attendance. So if limitations are in place through local or national regulations then it is possible that the season start will be delayed further until the imposed limit is high enough to satisfy all teams budgets. That of course assumes that sufficient fans are willing to gather in enclosed spaces even when the social distancing guidelines are relaxed.
When we are able to return to that jewel of a Sapphire we will almost certainly need to implement special measures. Entrance routes and stairs will become one way, trafic management will be required and above all else we need our wonderful fans (and those visiting scallywags) to be sensible and distanced and above all be polite and make way for others and respect the space that others need to keep their distance also. It is all just common sense which most of us have, but can forget when we are “into” the game.
We are also awaiting instructions regarding precautions such as mask wearing. I guess we have all expected this as a measure that would be in place for indoor spectator events and as you would expect we already have a range of Raiders themed masks organised and have three sizes each with their own design so mum, dad and youngsters wont get their masks mixed up!
Discussions are under way in respect of payment and pre-paid, contactless and season tickets seem to be the favoured option. We will need to put something in place for those that have no option but cash but this may well be on the basis of “correct money only”
After several months sourcing, we have secured a stock of re-usable printed multi layered cloth masks for Raiders fans and as you would expect they are pretty eye catching.
We are aware that masks are certainly not a “one size fits all” situation so we have small, medium and large.
These are expected to be available for around £6 and for a small extra these could be posted out pre-season.
If you are interested then please email ↓ mailto:email@example.com
Raiders play their home games at the new Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre in the heart of Romford opened in February 2018. The ice pad is a full international size of 56 metres x 26 metres. For those that don’t do metres……you need to learn. It’s 2020 for goodness sake and we went metric nearly 50 years ago 🙂
The ice surface is surrounded by crystal clear safety glass for your protection and the area above the glass is also protected with a microfilament nylon net that protects against flying pucks but barely affects your view of the ice. Raiders believe that theirs is the only rink in the country that has portholes for enthusiastic photographers. If you want to use them just ask and we will probably allow you to for a cup of coffee. 🙂
Raiders National Team home games will usually be played on a Sunday evening, with the occasional Saturday thrown in. Games start at 5:15 pm on Saturdays and 5:15 pm on Sundays too. Doors open at 4:30 pm on all game days. Our games are also served with full refreshments so your enjoyment can be enhanced by a little of your favourite tipple. Dont over do it though, you wouldn’t want to miss any of the action!
The Raiders organisation also includes a full junior development system where our coaching teams work from “learn to skate” up to the under 18’s squad. The pinnacle of the junior system is the Division 1 Raiders, often abbreviated as “the 1’s”. These are the stepping stone between Junior development and playing for the National League Raiders. Dont be fooled by them being just the “head” of the junior system. These guys can play and several of them have earned their chance to play in the senior team which they do regularly.
The rink is less than 5 minutes walk from Romford train station and on virtually all of the bus routes that serve the local area.
The liberty car park is just 25 metres from the entrance to the Sapphire and is free on Sundays
View on map here Sapphire map location
Commercial matters can be addressed to John Scott firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 24 Western Rd, Romford RM1 3JT
Phone: 01708 206892 They will not be able to answer ice hockey matters however and for this call 01268 418808