Thursday’s returnee is another popular one…..

June 3, 2021

Raiders are delighted to announce the return of a former junior and true Romford product as well as being three time “Supporter’s Player of the Year” for his fifth season in Gold and Blue. His all action style of play endears him to the Raiders supporters and he is a constant thorn in the side of opposition teams. We are of course referring to that pocket rocket better known as Brandon Ayliffe.

Brandon’s love of the team always makes his reappearance a foregone conclusion in some eyes but the team are always relieved to see the number 10 jersey with the Ayliffe name on the back when shirt orders need to be made.

Brandon has missed only one game since Raiders returned to Romford, missing a midweek home game against Swindon in February 2018. Since then he has been an ever present Ironman in seasons 2018/19 and 19/20 and to date his impressive tally is a team leading 124 consecutive appearances.

Brandon’s next game will be his 158th  Raiders appearances for 34th placed overall in Raiders appearances and his increasing points tally since joining linemates Aaron Connolly and Erik Piatak is 48 goals and 59 assists for 107 points, which sees him in 50th place in all time Raiders scoring.

Brandon played his junior career at Rom Way Valley Way, moving to Chelmsford after the rink closed. He progressed through the Chelmsford junior system before making his senior debut for both the Warriors and Chieftains in 2014/15 aged 16. By the time he moved back home to the Raiders he had made 68 appearances for the Chieftains scoring 7 goals and 13 assists for 20 points; and for the Warriors he made 49 appearances, scoring 60 goals and 37 assists for 97 points. He picked up number of NIHL League, Cup and Play Off winners medals as a member of the all conquering Warriors and Chieftains teams.

Brandon has also been a regular selection at conference level at Under 11, 13, 15 and 17 and added to that with an appearance for England Under 19 in the annual match against Scotland in May 2017.

Sean Easton summarised Brandon as “becoming the “go-to” guy with the Raiders.”

“Brandon Creates opportunities to score with his speed, not for just himself but he opens up the ice for the rest of his line with his movement.

Brandon’s confidence and abilities have risen to the constant challenge in the National League and he is clearly going from strength to strength season upon season.

“Raiders are built to play quick transitional hockey and they take away time and space quickly for the opposing team and Brandon is a big part of that.”

Brandon is keen to get back in front of the fans as he explained

 “Playing without any fans was a bit different. It felt like I was playing juniors again and we had to make our own atmosphere and our own noise,. With the fans there cheering and supporting the team throughout the game in my opinion it gets the team motivated and push harder to win.”

On the Spring Cup experience

“Playing against the elite league players was great for me because it gave me a chance to show people what I can do with or without the puck and pushing my abilities harder to keep up with them. One players that really caught my eye was Ben Davies: so calm on the puck and always looking for the next play and he never stopped moving his feet.

“Swindon at home will stick in my head because we played solid throughout the game and never took our feet off the gas. We just kept pressing their defence and took our chances to put the puck in the net.

“No games stood out for wrong reasons I just think that we was unlucky through the series we played hard each game and just unfortunate with the results at the end.”

And on the return for another season…

“I’m pleased to be back with the Gold and Blue, hopefully many more to come.”

Welcome back Brandon, for hopefully another “Iron Man” season.

Copyright Raiders Ice Hockey 2018