JJ Pitchley makes a welcome return to the Raiders to start his fifth season in Gold and Blue.
Now 24, JJ made his debut aged 17 away to Milton Keynes Thunder September 2011 and his first goal came a week later in a win over Slough ENL Jets. Since then he has gone on to make a total of 147 appearances for the Raiders (including 106 league appearances) ranking 38th in all time appearances. He has scored 58 goals and 53 assists for a total of 111 points (including 37 goals and 40 assists for 77 league points) for an all time ranking of 45th in all time scoring.
Following a junior career at Rom Valley Way, JJ had a season playing for Dallas Snipers in USA, before returning to the UK. 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 was joint top points scorer for the Raiders in 2016/17 scoring 26 goals and 26 assists for 52 points in all games. Last season JJ would have been an ever present Ironman but for the knee injury he sustained in the first leg of the Play Off semi finals and in his 45 appearances scored 19 goals and 13 assists for 32 points.
The summer break came at the right time for JJ who has been using it to recover from his late season injury but he is expecting this to be fully recovered before pre-season training.
“Im very happy to be wearing the Gold and Blue again”, said JJ during a short break in his favourite Dolly Parton CD!
“Love the direction the organisation is moving in and I want to be a part of it for the foreseeable future!”
Commenting on last season
“I don’t think we have any regrets from last year in regards to where we finished! We beat some very good teams. I think this season we can tighten up at the back end of games and learn to play with confidence when we have a lead. I think once again the league as a whole will be a lot better and there will be more competitive hockey. Most teams seem to be having a mix up and it will be very interesting to see how things start and end as I don’t think it will be as easy to predict as last season”
On this seasons opposition. “I like the local derby games like Invicta but i especially like the games against the big guns like Swindon, Bracknell and Peterborough. I believe, and have seen releases over the last week, that Bracknell are going to be a good side and tough place to go and play! It is very unfortunate to see the changes being made at Basingstoke as the town and fans are so behind the Bison it’s a rut I hope they get out of quickly as I enjoyed my time there a few years back and know how much hockey means to the fans in Basingstoke.”
Sean Easton was pleased to see last seasons #15 back in the squad.
“J has the ability to score goals, and that’s what I’m going to expect him to do this coming season. His point tally goals and assists need to improve. I don’t think he had a good season last year which he knows and there are areas he needs to improve on to make our team more complete and well rounded. His well known for the chant “JJ Pitchley does what he wants” but he improved in his discipline last season vastly, now we just got to find his offensive game again and agility to be back what he is really known for in the game. I know J is working hard this summer to shake off his injury and to be a lot fitter player.