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Defenceman Jack Cooper confident in the London Raiders squad

PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 September 2017

London Raiders Jack Cooper carries the puck away from new team-mate Brandon Ayliffe (Pic: John W G Scott)

London Raiders Jack Cooper carries the puck away from new team-mate Brandon Ayliffe (Pic: John W G Scott)

Archant

London Raiders defenceman Jack Cooper is confident in the squad they have built ahead of the 2017/18 season.

The Lee Valley-based outfit start their season with a home match against Streatham on Saturday and a road trip to Milton Keynes on Sunday and Cooper is pleased with the way things are looking.

“I think the management have put together a very good squad this year,” the 21-year-old said.

“It’s quite a young team, but we have very experienced players to look up to.”

The long-serving defenceman has returned for his fourth season in the gold and blue and believes the team is already coming together.

“The team spirit is very good right now, we all have a laugh and work well together in training,” he added.

Former Albany pupil Cooper is under no illusion as to how tough this season is going to be for his side, with changes to the league structure in the summer and teams like Basingstoke Bison, Peterborough Phantoms, Swindon Wildcats and Bracknell Bees joining the National League.

“This season is going to be a tough. We will need to work as a unit and work for each other on the ice,” said Cooper, who admitted a big squad could be vital for Raiders and believes they need to use it to their advantage.

“As we have a big squad, we should be able to wear teams down and continue our high intensity throughout the game,” he said.

“One of our let downs last year was that we blew all our energy by the third period. If we do that against any of the teams this year, we will get turned over.”

The former Romford junior revealed this is the biggest team he has played on at senior level and says the competition for places should drive everyone on.

“I haven’t played in a four-line senior squad before so it will be interesting,” he said. “It will be good because you always have someone pushing to take your spot, which will make you go out and give 100 per cent every shift.”

Cooper also praised the late addition of Slovakian forward Juraj Huska ahead of their opening game.

“We needed two imports and being able to sign Huska was a blessing. He brings so much talent and puts up serious points and continues to impress every year. I played against him for a few years and as a defender it was a nightmare,” he said.

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