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Crockford came up through the Solent youth programme, and in his 78 games he provided 172 goals and 71 assists. His time in the under 18s team, Crockford holds the records for U18 all time points (147) and U18 all time goals (100).
Crockford then took a break from hockey, returning in the 2017/18 season where he played 18 games for the Devils, contributing three goals and a pair of assists.
When asked what made him come back for the new season, Crockford replied
“There is an unbelievable team atmosphere in the dressing room that is filled with an unprecedented amount of experience. I chose to re-sign with the Devils because of the professionalism of the organisation and the desire to win, and the opportunities to develop under guys who have been there and done it.”
Devils head coach, Alex Murray talks highly of Crockford,
“Evan is a fantastic talent, who grew in confidence last year and continued to improve as he adapted to the standard of the team and league. With his size, natural strength and handedness, it was a no brainer for me to ask Evan back, and I’m delighted he agreed.”
“Looking back on last seasons’ performance, I feel as though my game improved as the year went on,” said Crockford, “however, I know I still have a lot to bring to the team. I am looking forward to completing a full season with the Devils this year, and developing my confidence and skills to help the team reach the next level.”
Murray continued his thoughts on Crockfords performance last year,
“It took a couple of games for Evan to fully understand the level of league hockey, but he is a fast learner and so you could see improvements game on game. He would work hard off the ice as well, developing his knowledge of the team’s systems so he was ready for any situation, should he be required.”
“My goals for the season are to retain the play offs and secure the league title.” Crockford said, looking towards next year, “Individually, I want to develop as a versatile player, who can be used to play numerous roles within the team. This will build my trust with my teammates, build my own confidence, improve my skills and really show the spectators what I can do. I know this will take a lot of hard work, so I will be training at full intensity both on and off the ice to put up points for the team and make an impact across the league, with hopes of developing enough to move in to the NIHL.”
Murray, however, declares his trust for the young forward,
“Evan had the trust and confidence from me, he just needs to believe in himself. That said, there will be more expectation put on Evan to produce points next season, as he looks to break into the top six. A big strong left winger is very useful to have, and he understands what I want from him next season.”
Lewis, now heading in to his third season with the Devils at just 19 years old, spent some time in the junior programmes in Swindon and Guildford, as well as Solent, including being on two way contracts with the U18s and Devils 2, over the last two seasons.
Solent Devils head coach, Alex Murray, says
“Elliot is a wonderful, raw talent, who has a mature head on young shoulders. Elliot will eventually follow several other Solent players in transitioning to the National League, but for now we are delighted to have him continue his development with the Devils!”
During his time with the Solent Devils last year, Lewis played 31 games, contributing 8 goals and putting up another 8 assists, keeping down to just 10 penalty minutes. This brings Lewis’ Devils career to 54 games played, 15 goals and 11 assists, which includes a trip to Bracknell at the end of the 2018/19 season, where Lewis was a part of the playoff team, competing in the final against Chelmsford Chieftains.
“There are always things you can do better in your personal game to contribute to the team.” Says Lewis.
“Overall, I would say it is always a confidence booster, putting goals and assists on the board, where I can help the team get two points from games. However, it’s what I was playing like off the puck that I was not satisfied with last year. I was still playing with bad habits on some occasions, and I was not happy with that. I was making silly mistakes that were easily avoidable, that did not benefit the team. Last year was still my first official year as a senior player and I learned an awful lot from the experienced players, who pointed out when I was making mistakes and gave me corrective advice to improve me as a hockey player.”
“I’m really impressed with how Elliot performed last season,” says Murray.
“Elliot played the majority of the season as our second line centreman, which is a big responsibility for someone so young.”
Continuing Lewis’ comments about how the other players help in the development of the younger players, Murray goes on to say,
“Elliot is great in the dressing room, he is loved by everyone so there are always people in his ear helping him develop. His father, Mark, is also a very experienced hockey player and coach, so he is lucky he will be getting feedback from his peers and parents, as well as his coaches, from every training session and game.”
Looking forward to the new season, Elliot outlines a few of his goals and how he hopes to contribute towards the Devils in their upcoming campaign,
“Personally, this year I would really like to cement my position within the squad, with getting more time on special team situations, but that wont be given to me, I have to make sure I’m doing all the right things, and listening to what Alex is telling me, as well as working hard in training. My main goal is to bring my work ethic to the team, with the plan to bring back silverware to Solent, which the fans rightfully deserve.”
Aligned to the young player’s thoughts, Murray agrees,
“Elliot has to continue his progression, being more consistent with his performances, as well as set a points target to achieve. Elliot is humble enough to accept this, and work tirelessly on improving, which I know he will.”