Return of forward James Archer boosts Hull Pirates ahead of tough weekend

JASON HEWITT said Hull Pirates wasted little time once they realised former forward James Archer was on the market again.

REUNITED: James ARcher is back at Hull Pirates. Picture courtesy of gw-iamges.com

The 31-year-old forward was part of last season’s treble-winning roster, his second year with the club, but left shortly afterwards, later joining new franchise the Leeds Chiefs.

But, earlier this week, Archer asked to leave the West Yorkshire club - who sit bottom of the NIHL National standings - and was released yesterday, along with fellow forwards Radek Meidl and Brodie Jesson.

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It’s not clear where Meidl is heading, while teenager Jesson it taking a break from the sport, but Archer and Hull were quick to be reunited once again.

Hull Pirates' player-coach, Jason Hewitt. Picture courtesy of Lois Tomlinson.

“It’s no secret we’ve been quite short for a little while, so when we found out Arch was looking to get out of his current situation we were keen to jump on it,” said Hewitt.

“When he left after last season, it wasn’t that we didn’t want him as he had done a great job for us, we just didn’t work out a contract that we were both happy with.

“Time away sometimes makes you realise, for example, that on our side what we were missing and in Arch’s case, maybe he realises it was a good situation for him here.”

Archer returns from Leeds in time for the Pirates’ first visit of the season to Raiders IHC before, 24 hours later, hosting Doug Sheppard’s Bracknell Bees.

“As a player, we know we’re getting a good, experienced player back which is key at this level,” added Hewitt. “He’s good on the penalty kill and by all accounts he’s had a great season so far at Leeds with the points he’s been putting up. It’s a win-win for both parties.”

Archer admitted he was pleased to be back on familiar ice once again, adding: “Hull was a special place for me over the last two years and to create history last season like we did was a great moment.

“I’m thankful to Shane and Jason for bringing me back at this stage of the season.”

As for the teams facing them this weekend, Hewitt is keen to even the score, having lost 2-1 at home to Raiders, while being edged out 7-6 after a shoot-out on their visit to Bracknell last month.

“They are both good teams,” he added; “ When Raiders came to us they were really well-drilled and they got an early lead and they were quite physical and it was a difficult night.

“Their goalie stood on his head so hopefully he doesn’t have the same kind of game.

“It’s a small rink and they’re a big team so it’s going to be a battle and the stakes are bigger for us so we’ve otto find a way.

“Bracknell are well-coached and they graft their backsides off, so we know that’s going to be another tough night.”