27 year old JJ Pitchley makes a welcome and no doubt popular return for an eighth season in Gold and Blue for his hometown Raiders.
Following a successful junior career at Rom Valley Way, JJ had a season playing for Dallas Snipers in USA, before returning to the UK. He represented Britain at the Under 18 World Junior Championship in 2011/12 icing in five games.
He returned to Romford for a season split between Raiders and Buccaneers where he picked up an ENL South League winners medal in 2012. In the next three seasons he made 55 appearances in EPL for Slough Jets, Bracknell Bees and Basingstoke Bison, in addition to spells with the Slough ENL Jets and Bracknell Hornets in NIHL, in which he scored 33 goals and 80 points in 61 appearances.
JJ made his Raiders debut aged 17 away to Milton Keynes Thunder September 2011 with his first goal came a week later in a win over Slough ENL Jets; and since then he has gone on to make a total of 256 appearances for the Raiders (including 195 league appearances) ranking 18th in all time appearances. JJ is the leading points scorer of the current Raiders having scored 81 goals and 72 assists for a total of 153 points (including 55 goals and 56 assists for 111 league points) for an all-time ranking of 37th in all scoring.
JJ is clearly Raiders through-and-through as we chatted over hockey and Covid life.
“Yes it’s great to be back of course J. The Raiders are a second family to me and I’m glad to be back playing in front of the gold and blue!
“At 27 now I’ve been around the Raiders and some of the fans my whole life and for me that is very sentimental. For anyone who knows me this club means a lot to me and my family and I want to win something here and bring some success back to Romford! We have our identity and a strong fan base and it’s now time to fill our trophy cabinet.
“You always look forward to the start of the season in any sport, with the last 18 months it’s been an odd and different time for all so will be good to have some normality back, with the added bonus of having fans back in the sapphire will make it even more special.
“Yeah the standard for the streaming series was a lot higher with the Elite League guys playing. But I think as a group we handled it very well and proved we have come a long way in regards to the level we can play at and compete at.
“The fans make a tremendous difference being in the rink. The noise and atmosphere is second to none and gives the game a much needed boost sometimes. Teams hate coming to Romford and we’ve been told it’s uncomfortable to perform by visiting teams!
“I have seen a few changes around the league and it’s good to see the Standard rising again! I know Sean is building a good team to challenge for silverware this season and I’m happy to be a part of that again.
“I believe most people have been living this “new normal” for some time now so should feel safe to come back into the rink come September! But of course whatever makes you comfortable to enjoy hockey again. The countdown is on to a normal season and I truly can’t wait to see you all back in the stands and cheering us on!
“Personally it’s been a different off season, no holidays abroad, new job and a lot of time in the gym to make sure I’m ready for when the season starts. I’m ready to get on the ice and play now! Got some games to win and some trophies to win before I’m done playing for good!
“Look forward to seeing you all in a few weeks 🙂 enjoy the sun and stay safe all 🙂
Sean Easton knows J’s place and roles as he explained:-
“JJ possesses good strength on the puck.
“His direct play causes offensive threats and a nightmare for any d man in our league once JJ starts driving the net.”
Welcome back JJ….