City Stars bring in three
Oxford City Stars have today announced the signings of three players as their squad starts to take shape for next season. Two are club stalwarts and one is a fresh new face to Oxpens Road. The Stars are pleased to welcome back two pivotal players from last season, Joe Edwards and Andy Cox and greet current Great Britain defenseman Ben Nethersell to Oxford. Ben, started his hockey career at Streatham in South London before moving to Swindon to join the prestigious Okanagan Ice Hockey Academy based in Wiltshire. Ben has experience in the EPL (English Premier League), is Captain of the Okanagan U18’s and is Assistant Captain of the GB U18 squad playing in the recent U18 World Championships in Romania. Nethersell said “I know that Oxford are a hard working team with hunger to win a championship after being knocked out of the play offs last year. By coming to Oxford I want to improve my overall game, I need to work hard to improve my weakness and continue gaining strengths. That way I can bring more to the team. I want to help my team by getting points in every game. I’m just urging to get started now. Focus on one game at the time, with the goal of winning the league & playoffs at the back of my mind.”
Ben joins club stalwart Andy Cox in putting pen to paper, Cox who has iced for Edinburgh Capitals in the top flight had no doubts about committing to a further season. Cox who traditionally ices as a defenceman had a spell in attack last season and the seasoned player is pleased to be back. Cox added “Last season was great fun! Its the first time in all the years playing at Oxford that I’ve seen a team work so hard for one another. We all formed relationships throughout the team (on and off the ice) which resulted in a successful season and allowed us to build on the previous seasons survival in NIHL1. Next season I can see us going again, buying into the coaches ethos and philosophies and improving on last season’s league position of 4th and quarter finals of the Playoffs.
It’s extremely exciting to be at Oxford right now as the club is in the best position I’ve ever seen it in. We have a great behind the scenes team on-board that have fantastic commercial awareness, a great bunch of guys on the roster with a team first attitude and one of the best fan bases in the league…..I think most guys will be very disappointed come the end of the next season if we haven’t improved on last year!”
Finally skilful Joe Edwards re-joins to bolster Stars offensive unit. Oxford born Edwards notched 13 goals last season and Oxford fans will be pleased to see Joe’s ability on show once again at Oxford Ice Rink. Edwards said “ I’m happy to be back of Course, especially after last year’s journey. It was incredible and I can’t wait to get on the ice again and see what damage we can do. The fans played a massive part in our success whether it’s buying a ticket or cheering us on. There is a unanimous vote of confidence from the team about the new setup. The new directors have already shown that they are here for the team and that they will do all they can to assist us in another successful year. I am personally really excited to be in this great club for another season”
Coach Simon Anderson, pleased with his hat trick of signings, added “Ben is someone who will really help and improve our team, whilst fitting into our style of play perfectly. He is a very mobile D-man for his size and moves the puck extremely well, which will improve our transition game. The other part of Bens game that will help us is his ability to put up good numbers is his offensive style which will be an advantage if we are down a goal or two.
Speaking to his coach from last year, Ben is also very good on the PowerPlay and I thought that we struggled at times in this situation, so we will be looking for Ben to help us there. He is excited to be taking the next step in his development and we are happy to be a part of that. The deal we have done will allow Ben to still practice with Swindon Wildcats EPL(English Premier League) team and I think that is vital for his development and will also help us in the process, by having a player practicing at that level”
Coxy was a no brainer. He is part of the furniture here and he is another Mr Oxford.He is a great team guy and for me as a coach a perfect signing because of his versatility. He had a stop start season last year at times with injuries, but this season i know that he will be in good shape, which will hopefully will see him not missing too many games or having to play hurt. We will be quite a young team again and Coxy is the perfect guy to have around for the younger guys to learn off,Its going to be a big season for Coxy and I’m confident that he will shine bright.
Onto Joe again there was never any doubt that i would want to bring this guy back. I am looking to keep the guys that are the heartbeat of this club and Joe is one of those. He had a good season last year and i think this season being his 3rd in this league, i am looking for Joe to push towards the 20 goal mark and push to play as one of our top 6 forwards, which he has the capability to be. I am looking for Joe to improve his game again on both sides of the puck and i think he has that in his locker and i believe that if he can do this, then he has the tools to be one of the top forwards not only in our team, but in this league. He will certainly get the chances to prove this.”