Raiders are pleased to announce the return of another former Romford junior as 22 year old Ethan James signs up for a third season between the pipes for the “Gold and Blue”.
In his shortened two seasons Ethan has made 39 appearances since his debut on 14th December 2019 when he back stopped Raiders with 36 saves helping the Raiders to what some considered a surprise 6-3 home win against Hull Pirates. In his Raiders appearances Ethan has spent 1850 minutes between the pipes, saving 1034 shots for a 88.53 save percentage
Ethan returned to the Raiders from Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League team Essa Stallions, where he had played for four seasons, backstopping them to championships in the last two seasons there. In each season Ethan has posted 90%+ save percentage, with an impressive high of 94.5% in 2017/18.
Ethan also had one other season in Canada, playing in 2015/16 for Coldwater Falcons in Greater Metro Hockey League.
Ethan has represented Great Britain at three Junior World Championships representing the Under 18s in 2015/16 and the following season and then for the bronze medal winning Under 20’s in 2017/18.
In UK junior hockey, Ethan played in the productive Romford junior system until moving to Okanagan Hockey Academy where he played for three seasons for their Under 16’s , stepping up in his last season to also ice for the Under 18s. In each of his seasons he has a save percentage of better than 92%, peaking with an even more impressive 96.4% and a 0.71 Goals against average for the Under 18’s in the England Championship season in 2014/15.
Ethan is another that has understandably been frustrated by the lack of action but absence makes the heart grow fonder!
“I really enjoyed the spring cup. It was great to get some kind of games played when we really didn’t expect to. The standard after people not playing for a year was far better than expected and it felt good to be able to get back on the ice which is ultimately what we all wanted.
“Hockey over in the part of Canada that I was in didn’t really get started that well, so I do feel that I was lucky to get the amount of games at the standard we did. I know lots of people were getting frustrated from not playing and just want normality back.
“Facing a high number of shots during the spring cup was good for my awareness and development, facing more shots than any other goalie definitely kept me busy, however I use these shots to help with my game moving forward.
“In regards to the spring cup playing alongside the elite and GB players I felt myself being more patience as they tend to spend more time on the puck perfecting their shots, so I needed to keep being aware of the game around me as they read it very well and faster. Everything with their play happens 2 seconds faster so it was good for my awareness to compete at that level.”
On his growing partnership with Brad Windebank, announced on Tuesday this week…
“I am a firm believer that goalie partners are there to make each other better, and push each other. I believe you should always support your goalie partner, regardless of who is playing. Me and Brad get on really well which helps us both as we then push each other in training to compete for games. Brad has overcome a big injury and was looking confident in training coming back. I am looking forward to the partnership with myself and Brad over the season to keep pushing each other.“
And finally, what expectations ahead for season 21-22?
“I am looking forward to a full season under my belt for the Raiders , especially in front of our home fans. The rink can sound amazing when it’s full and I believe the fans are going to make the atmosphere huge especially after playing in the quiet rink of the spring cup”.
Sean Easton had been chatting with Ethan for a while before he signed and was clearly please to get his man and keep him.
“Ethan came in last December when we had injuries to all of our net minders. He made an impact straight away backstopping Raiders to an impressive 6 game streak over the Christmas period.
“Ethan is ambitious and wants to succeed, working hard all year round to be the best he can possibly be. His compete level and “want” to win will help Raiders to become a force in the National League.
Welcome back Ethan as Raiders complete a very capable and enviable pairing in the goal for this coming season.