After a brief Raiders “retirement” and his recent games at Chelmsford this season, we are delighted to announce the re-signing of Michael Gray for his eleventh season in Gold and Blue. He is a very valuable addition to the squad to reinforce the teams net-minding abilities especially with the uncertain nature of Brad Windebank’s recovery from his persistent knee niggles.
Michael’s return for the Gold and Blue will extend all club netminding records that he currently holds including netminding minutes, appearances, shots faced and shots saved.
Michael has made 336 appearances for the Raiders (7th position overall) and 159 more than the second best appearance record for a netminder (Russ Jackson).
To date he has spent 15384 minutes (more than 250 hours) between the pipes for the Raiders facing 9680 shots making 8693 saves and conceding 987 goals for a 89.80 save percentage. In addition Michael appeared for Romford Spitfires in seasons 2006/07 and 2008/09 making 21 appearances for a 88% save percentage
Michael played most of his junior career in the Slough organisation where he made his senior debut for Slough Harrier Hawks at 14 years of age. After a spell playing for Chelmsford Under 19s, he moved to play for Romford’s second team (Spitfires) and the Under 19 Buccaneers.
Michael subsequently had a season icing for Streatham Redskins and apart from brief spells at Invicta Dynamos and Chelmsford Chieftains and two seasons not icing, Michael has iced for Romford / London Raiders and Romford Spitfires since 2006.
Michael’s retirement and departure were thought to be a little early for someone arguably at the top of their game and the Raiders’ management are delighted to see him between the pipes again.
Raiders clearly hold a special place in his playing heart as he explained.
“I’m really looking forward to being back at the club I love. Firstly I would like to say thank you to Chelmsford Chieftains for the way they treated me this season and I wish them the best of luck this season. Secondly I’m back to cover Brad only while he’s injured as it’s a massive shame because Brad was playing so well plus to help out Ethan with the workload of the amount of games.
“I cannot wait to get started with the raiders again as it all came to a sudden end with COVID hitting the world and I always felt I never finished properly at the Raiders”.
There can be few “new” signings where the coach can be as certain of what they are getting as Sean Easton elaborated.
“It’s such a shame for Brad to suffer this injury when he was on his game. But the team requires that depth in our goalies and there is no better person I could think of then Michael!
“Michael needs no introductions to the Gold and Blue and can be dropped straight into the team for the weekend as he is a popular face in the room.
“Michael is a competitor in training and games and wants to win. His desire to achieve is huge and now we are back to having competition for that spot which both Ethan and Michael want.
“Brad will recover and will be back but needs time to make sure he’s back to full strength. In the mean-time Brad will be with the team throughout to assist where he can.”
Welcome back Michael.