Raiders look back, and move forwards

April 7, 2021

Earlier today a brief link was posted on the Raiders site in respect of the combined response of the National League teams after the Spring Cup had completed.

That earlier note mentioned we would be adding some of our own words to that general announcment and so here goes.

Some of what is necessary here was previewed in the last match night magazine notes under the “Pooling our resources” pages. That premonition of the need for these words was amongst others words predicting we would take points from the Tigers. Unfortunately no lottery numbers were predicted in that edition so don’t bother flicking through your .pdf to find them.

So apologies for some cut and paste here, but the sentiments are no less genuine despite this.

The plans for a continuation of the streaming series were today revealed as regretably not being viable. I am sure all teams were disappointed by this outcome but we have generally agreed to savour the fun had by all involved in the physical activity. If those at home had even a fraction of enjoyment we did then you will be glad you tuned in.

So the streaming series did not come without time and effort from a lot of people and this is the time to give thanks for making it possible. We tried to minimise the risks involved and everyone bought into the procedures and thankfully the calculated risk taken did not result in a single positive test.

Thanks start of course with all the fans that have tuned in to the stream and engaged with us with social media posts. We know they were not all positive comments for the early games but hopefully those demons are behind us and thanks for the encouragement, technical insight and sticking with us. We have enjoyed the photos and posts and knowing you are with us in spirit. We are also very much looking forward to taking the stream improvements and even more into all future National League games at the Sapphire to ensure it becomes a viable option to enjoy the action at home for those that can’t make it to the rink.

Thanks to our shirt sponsors who help out every season and for virtually all of you even a short season like this was enough to get behind us. Thank you!

Each week had the beers sponsored too which was a great last minute effort from our fans so thanks again G&B. It has come to our attention that one or two of the sponsors did not get the relevant mention during the stream and we will be making sure that your support is recognised elsewhere.

Our commercial sponsors are always there and thankfully some new ones that you would have seen mentioned on the stream adverts, the rink boards and the match night magazine and this web site. We are hopeful that there will be even more adorning the boards at the Sapphire when you guys can get back through the doors. Thanks to Everyone Active, PIP lifts, Phils removals, Aqualia, Kingpin, Cam Security, Allan Reece, Joe and Jam, Aspire properties, Mullis and Peake and Blindside trading cards. We hope all of you managed to get some business out of this in the future.

Whilst pandemic concerns prevented some back room staff from coming to the rink Dave Leach and Louise Capps have been active in the background with player registrations and the paperwork behind the Covid testing and registration thereof. Thanks to you both.

On game night we had a condensed support squad which even managed to contain one spare in case of accident and illness. So thanks to Bill Cooper, Brendon Crowley and Ray Fitzhugh on goal judging and other duties.

The timekeepers box saw Catherine and Glenn back in their normal seats, isolated masked and screened of course.

Thanks to all our off ice officials mentioned above.

The announcing team of Paul Ludlow and Danny Oxley were in their normal roles as were Malcolm and Matt on video and commentary with Lindsey providing some button pressing for the stream scoreboard and video interludes in the last couple of games. I am sure Malcolm would have been breathing a very deep sigh of relief when the gremlins were finally sorted but it does seem we have the basis of a very good streaming system for future seasons.

Matt Turner (yes that Matt Turner #8) has also been involved with filming since the third week and his handiwork was on the roving camera at the clock end providing some great close up work. Thanks to all our on site nnouncing / video team especially in the face of some very difficult early issues.

On that subject a quick thank you to Ticketco and Joe Edwards as well, who stepped in rapidly at short notice when our existing streaming system had some issues.

With this being an “on line” affair we did need to dedicate some efforts to the streaming queries and 50:50 and Signed Shirt auctions and Graham and Mel handled this as impeccably as usual as our “on the night” social media team. I suspect it wasnt as much fun as yelling 50:50 at the top of their voices on a normal game night but the video’s of Olivia and Indie will be a must for future season to haunt them into their teens.

Whilst the rink was pretty well un-manned we did need to enlist Tom, Gary and Chloe of Everyone Active  so thanks to them for allowing the place to open and your work keeping the building ticking.

Paul Windebank, as ever, has spent countless hours with shirts and adverts and match night magazine design and rink boards and much much more. Paul’s brainchildren included the excellent on line flip books for the match night magazine and we suspect this format will probably continue into the future “normal” seasons.

So thanks to Paul who has for many years done so much for the team including introducing sponsors in recent times. Together with Jayne they also keep merchandise flowing and of course administer the on line 50:50 and signed shirt auction.

Thanks are also due to the EIHA and Andrew Miller in particular as well of course to the teams at Sheffield, Swindon, Telford and Bees for giving us some practice 🙂

And of course I shall save the final thanks to the on ice team who have done us proud and certainly provided us with plenty of entertainment and laughs along the way. Sean and his coaching team of Alan and Jibber, and Michelle and Graham have done a great job keeping the momentum going at a time when operationally we were challenged, with greater distances to travel, masks restricting breathing and for Sean in particular a lot of additional Covid related chores. The new faces have also done a great job for us so thanks guys and it was a pleasure to be able to give you some leg stretching ice time. For those that stretched their legs and other bits a bit too far, we hope your recoveries are quick and full.

So thanks to you all for making those 12 games possible, and if we have missed anyone off the list who has contributed in any way our apologies.

But that was then, and now we look forward.

Sean will have already had discussions regarding next season and we have also started the search for repeat and new sponsors. A new ticketing system will almost certainly integrate with the streaming platform. Discussion will soon be had regarding match night fan management and any restrictions still in place to distance everyone from Covid transmission risks.

New kit, new rink boards and with luck a new eating place we can socialise in before and after games.

The team owners meetings will get more frequent, starting next week, as we establish the ground rules for making the new season more competetive than ever and work our way through post Brexit work permit restrictions for the non EIHA trained players..

So thats all for now, thanks to you all and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in the new season!

Copyright Raiders Ice Hockey 2018