Raiders are delighted to announce the return of another local player and for a fourth season too, a remarkable achievement for an 18 year old. Net minder Brad Windebank, for what will hopefully be for him a full season, is back in the Gold and Blue as a major part of our net minding duo.
Now fully fit, Brad will be working to substantially increase the 230.60 minutes he has spent between the pipes for Raiders 1 in the past three seasons. In total Brad has dressed for Raiders 1 on 19 occasions and in his time between the pipes, Brad has posted a 89.05 save percentage.
In his first season in 2018/19 Brad made 6 appearances, whilst primarily back stopping the Raiders 2, for whom he played a pivotal role, earning recognition from players around the league in being voted to the League All Star second team. Brad missed just one game for Raiders 2 (due to a Raiders 1 call up) being in the net for 1483 minutes facing 987 shots conceding 99 goals for a 89.97% save percentage. Brad also made six league appearances that season for the Raiders Under 18 team and had a 98.7% save percentage.
Brad played his junior hockey for Romford until RVW closed down moving to Chelmsford and during that move posted several seasons with save percentages in excess of 90%
Brad has been a regular in the South East Regional team at every age group winning the tournament MVP at Under 11. He has made six appearances for England Under 13 in Pee Wee competitions, and made five Great Britain Under 16 appearances in two tournaments where he produced a save percentage exceeding 95% in both.
We managed to catch up with Brad and talk hockey, injuries, the Spring Cup and what targets we should have for the new season.
“It has been a very strange time for everyone that’s for sure, but we were in a fortunate position to be able to get some hockey in during the pandemic, which I think was a very successful and very well run and safe competition, so it was good to get some sort of normality back even just for a few weeks.
“I dislocated my right shoulder early in the first pre-season game saving a shot, there was subsequent muscle tear which required my season to end before it had even really begun. I have been quite fortunate with injuries, although I have had a few over the years, nothing as serious as the shoulder was, but fingers crossed I stay healthy going forward.
“The missed season should have seen me back between the pipes because I was back taking shots by that time so I would have been good to go had the season started on time.
“The Spring Cup was a great relief to get playing again . It was all a bit different to be honest with the team changing in different areas of the rink, sitting in the penalty box away from the rest of the team when backing up (which were all Covid protocols and necessary), but I would say the biggest difference was the lack of noise from the stands, it felt strange like a training session at times.
“It was good to be back out on the ice having been forced to be off it for so long, but playing in an empty rink is the biggest thing that sticks out for me, that plus having to take Covid tests each time we got to the rink.“
On the Spring Cup experience Brad summarised his memories and in particular of a stellar performance up in Sheffield.
“When you see someone as talented as Liam (Kirk) go on and top the goal scoring table at the World Championships and recognised as an All-Star from the tournament you realise just how good he actually is, so it was really pleasing to make some saves from him during the Spring Cup.
“Of course Liam wasn’t the only talented addition to our normal opposition. There were a few differences to be honest, the games were played at a different speed compared to what we are used to each week, some of those Elite guys were a lot bigger and stronger too and yes there was a difference in quality, the passing and accuracy of the shooting.
“We certainly upped our game though and were competitive throughout in each of the games, we adjusted and got better as the competition went on which we hope will help us as we start the new season. For 21-22 our aim of course should be to win the league, but being realistic our first goal will be to make the playoffs, however we will be looking to finish as high up the league table as possible and then who knows what can happen in the playoffs.
Sean Easton has worked with Brad both here and at Chelmsford and recognises the potential for the tender with the growing following.
“Brad is our up and coming star in the Raiders senior team. After his season ending injury Brad has been lucky to get ice through the Spring Cup and has looked sharp ever since getting back on the ice.
“At the young age of 19 he will be attending this week’s GB under 20 camp and I am sure continue growing in confidence and become a valuable member of the Raiders for years to come”
Welcome back Brad!