On May 7th at English Ice Hockey’s annual meeting, Oxford’s Junior development team had been voted into NIHL2 south to operate a team to enable a step between the City Stars and the youth program . At the same meeting Oxford City Stars agreed to join the split conference system of NIHL1 South and move up to this revamped 2nd tier of British Ice Hockey.
When that conference system collapsed a few days later due to other teams dropping out, Oxford City Stars were left unable to join the re-worked structure and were forced to withdraw too.
Oxford City Stars were then in limbo, unable to join the below league either.
After what has been a tiring and emotionally draining week, the Clubs Directors are ecstatic to announce that they have forged a strong and positive relationship with Oxford Junior Stars.
The two clubs will work in tandem over a number of projects to develop and grow the youth players from the City while ensuring the Oxford City Stars remain the flagship club for supporters and the City.
Oxford City Stars would like to thank each member of the Oxford Junior Stars for their strong support and desire to build Ice Hockey in Oxford.
Stars Director Russ Shrives said “I’m so pleased to be able to announce this, we wanted to focus on improving our workings with the Junior club in coming years and they have been brilliant to us. James and I have hardly slept this last week, it’s been emotional, stressful and draining but having Jayne and the rest of the Junior Stars stand alongside us has been such a strength”
Vice-Chair of the Junior Stars Jayne Harrison added “The purpose of entering a team into the NIHL2 was to build a link between the junior club and Oxford City Stars to enable our players to have a route from the junior system into senior hockey. We have been working closely with the Stars during the past season and they welcomed and supported us entering a team in the NIHL2. When we heard that the Stars had been forced to withdraw from the NIHI1 we were happy to support them and join forces to create the best possible hockey in Oxford for both players and fans alike”
Oxford City Stars Captain Darren Elliott added “I’m so happy with the outcome. I really appreciate the time and efforts our Directors have all gone through these past weeks. I know it is draining and has had huge effect on them personally but It’s all going it will be worthwhile in the long run. Its a pleasure to have people in charge of the Stars, who are as passionate off the ice as I am on it.”
Richard Carpenter of the EIHA and League Manager for NIHL South stated “The LMC is delighted to see both the Oxford City Stars and Oxford Junior Ice Hockey Club working together for the betterment of ice hockey in Oxford. Forming one team to compete in NIHL2 will bring together the best that both clubs have to offer with a set of engaged, passionate individuals eager to bring the best for ice hockey in the city and we look forward to working with them as we look to the start of the season in September”
Oxford City Stars Director James Schall said “I can’t thank the Junior club enough, they made a tough decision for the future of our sport in our city and I’m grateful and passionate about ensuring they know we’re in this for them too. We will prove our passion to deliver quality Ice Hockey talent from within Oxfordshire”
Oxford City Stars will compete in NIHL2 in September 2017 as the only representatives of the City
The league structure will be announced in coming days and Oxford City Stars will be releasing more information on season tickets, squad details and other items next week.