The first player to return is….

May 20, 2021

As the Raiders get back into the familiar Thursday routine of announcements we can move from last week’s vital coaching role to the first of the player announcements.

With such value placed by the team and supporters on the local talent available and being developed it seems appropriate for the Raiders to give the first warm welcome back to 26 year old Jacob Ranson who returns for his sixth season as a Raider.

Noted for his penalty kill and chasing “lost causes” energy, Jacob has a reputation as a thorn in the side of anyone trying to clear their zone or leave a corner with the puck stick attached to their stick. He wears the title of “pain in the……..neck” with justifiable pride and we can be sure that similar discussions have often lead to a penalty in Raiders favour. He carries that same energy into his playing and training statistics.

Jacob has been an ever-present  “Ironmen”, appearing in all 64 games for Raiders since his return from Streatham, scoring six goals and two assists in this spell. In total Jacob has made 149 appearances (118 in league games) for an overall Raiders appearance ranking of 41st, a position we are confident he will climb many places. Jacob has scored 26 goals and 15 assists for a total of 41 points for Raiders (ranked 115th overall in scoring).

Like the majority of his team mates Jacob learned his trade initially in the Romford Junior System at Rom Valley Way before moving to Canada in 2009 to join “Pursuit of Excellence Varsity” . In 2012 Jacob continued his hockey education in Sweden Junior 18 Division 2 for Mjolby where he made 20 appearances, scoring twice with three assists for five points.

Jacob started his senior career in 2013  icing for London Raiders at Lee Valley, making 19 appearances but splitting the season with Milton Keynes Thunder where he also made 19 appearances scoring 2 goals and three assists for five points. 2014/15 saw Jacob back with the Raiders making 44 appearances scoring 15 goals and six assists for 21 points picking up the Supporters Player of the Year.

Jacob moved to Invicta for the 2015/16 season ice for Dynamos and also for EPL league champions Basingstoke Bison making a total of 68 appearances, scoring 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points.

2016/17 saw Jacob return to London Raiders making 14 appearances scoring 3 goals and 7 assists for 10 points before moving to Streatham where he spent two and a half seasons, and in 95 appearances he scored 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points.

Coach Sean Easton continues the energy theme with his own assessment of the player known as JR (or Ranse) in the room.

“Jacob’s playing style can be the heart beat of the team. His relentless work rate and tenacity around the ice causes other teams issues.

“ The role JR plays is an important role, be it hustling pucks down, defending leads or killing penalties he is effective and strives to keep that reputation intact”.

Jacob is predictably pleased to be back and the Spring Cup within the Covid break helped to keep the enthusiasm alive for the game.

“I loved playing in the Spring Cup, the standard of play went up as we were playing against Elite League players, and I love to test myself.

“The win we managed at home against Swindon was the best we played as a team. I personally loved that game as we were line matching against the likes of Ben Davies, Matt Myers and Josh Batch and I came away as an even. (plus minus record)

“Penalty killing against those sort of players as well is great fun as you have to adapt and tweak things as you go throughout games which I find great fun as I love tactics and analysing  things during games”.

On the coming season :-

“The league is way tougher than what Raiders have experienced for many years and will be even tougher when you look at Leeds who finished last in 19-20. They’ve gone out, and brought in a top coach in Dave Whistle. I played under him in Canada and he’ll be a huge addition. We have to step up, play with more bite, and grind teams down.”

In common with many normally hockey orientated people football has been a go-to sport for Jacob during the pandemic.

“One thing I will say, though, is barring it’s uniqueness, football and ice hockey, all sports for that matter are not the same without a noisy crowd.

“Let’s hope come the start of the new season, the rink can be packed and full of atmosphere, as although returning to the ice was fun, we did miss the fans.”

We will all surely agree with that sentiment and that a warm welcome awaits Mr Ranson at the first game of the new season.

Welcome back Jacob!

Copyright Raiders Ice Hockey 2018