It’s that time of year again as the Raiders management start the news release process and announce the reunion with old favourites, signing of future favourites and hope to tempt all the Raiders faithful back to their favourite building. It is not just about players however as we will welcome to our team new sponsorship relationships, merchandise and team wear and no doubt build on the “new normal” with adjusted ticketing, refreshments and other purchasing keeping our germs to our self.
We will come straight to the point here (for a change) and admit in previous years we have been a bit negligent in not really giving the first agreement of the season the platform that it really deserves.
Our first announcement is the heart of our vascular system, the mortar holding up our brickwork, the passion in our Mills and Boon romance. Without a doubt the most important announcement we will make this season is the return of our consummate professional in the coaching room, Mr Sean Easton. The Raiders management are delighted that Sean has agreed to continue to grow his experience and reputation and undoubtedly our success as the hinge pin in our bench door……….but enough of the similes.
Sean returns as Head Coach for a fifth season, having first joined the Raiders from Chelmsford for the 2017-18 season, as we saw out our enforced term at Lee Valley, with a remit to build a team to take the Raiders back home to Romford. Since his arrival he has coached the Raiders in 158 games improving the team year on year. Throughout his tenure he has been able to attract players, both new and returning, to Romford to continually improve the team competitiveness despite the playing standard in National League being considerably stronger than the division Raiders played in prior to Sean’s arrival.
Sean always shared the managements’ desire to operate in the top “British” league in the UK and with their faith in his abilities the management were always keen to make that happen. The fact that these improvements continued despite being a “small budget” team speak volumes about his spread of abilities.
Alongside his role as Raiders Head coach, his coaching skills have been recognised by his peers to become Head Coach of the Great Britain Under 18 team, having served two years as Assistant Coach, winning Gold Medal in the 2018/19 season.
Prior to joining Raiders, Sean had a long association with Chelmsford Ice Hockey, playing most of his senior career at Riverside with the exception of two seasons at Streatham. He made a total of 289 senior appearances, scoring 38 Goals and 63 Assists for 101 Points, winning a total of five league titles.
His senior coaching career began in 2011/12 as Assistant Coach for Chelmsford Chieftains, for three seasons, whilst also being Head Coach of their Under 16 and 18 teams.
In 2015/16 Sean was promoted to Head Coach and led Chelmsford Chieftains to continued success winning league titles in both seasons season in addition to multiple other trophies before joining Raiders.
Sean’s familiar enthusiasm for the task ahead remains undimmed after the enforced break as he explained:-
“I can’t wait to get going! Even though we had the Spring Cup it feels like an eternity since we last played a game in front of the Gold and Blue faithful. I know the players and Off Ice staff can’t wait to get going either.
“We are looking again to grow and be an even more competitive team in the National League. With the “Honeymoon” period now over (jumping up leagues) it is now time to further establish our presence and compete for trophies”.
For many just getting back to the rink will be enough but for coach Easton the quest for progress continues. We have lots more news to share, but for now let’s just allow the importance of this announcement sink in.
Welcome back Sean, and we look forward to welcoming the squad that he is assembling for the 21-22 National League season for a much anticipated return to spectator filled hockey games where no doubt a few emotional reunions will be occuring.