National Ice Hockey League Division 1 (South)


A mix of agony and ecstasy

The following season (09/10) the league took a major expansion from 8 to 10 side and the strength of the league notably increased as well and gone were the days that a solely English side could compete at the top end of the division.

To counter this Stars signed long time Swindon player Ken Forshee. Things started well for the Stars when they had a four point weekend beating Peterborough and Bracknell and when Juraj Rusic signed after playing for the Wightlink Raiders the previous season thing were looking up.

However, due to an injury crisis at EPL Swindon, Rusic signed for a month on loan there and shortly after his return to Oxford was injured for the rest of the season. Stars battled hard and finished a credible 5th but couldn’t proceed further than the group stage of the playoffs.

For the 2010/11 season Stars picked up Robin Lindva from Trångsunds IF in Sweden. Despite playing well (and posting a 92% save percentage) Lindva was let go before the signing deadline with Stars Head Coach Ken Forshee becoming a player/coach after the Stars struggled offensively all season and finished in 9th place, missing out on the playoff’s by losing to Bracknell on the final day of the season.

2011/12 saw the Stars pick up South African import Cameron Birrell and Kiwi Martin Lee as well as signing netminder Chris Douglas. With the results going from bad to worse which saw Stars go on a two-month-long losing streak, the decision was made the axe Forshee replacing him with Simon Anderson. When this happened, eight players walked out of the team, leaving the Stars with no option but to fold as they were unable to field a side.

The shock of the previous seasons events saw a decision to return a team based purely of Oxford based players for the 2012/13 season. Alan Green returned from Chelmsford and went on to be the club’s top points scorer. Under the leadership of Darren Elliott and Jeff Sykora they had a rocky start, but after a thrilling 5-0 win over Chelmsford Warriors, they went on a 14-game winning streak, culminating in winning the title by seven points from Wightlink Tigers.

2013/14 saw another historic season. Crowds on the up, including a 690 against Slough on the penultimate weekend of the season saw the Stars complete a league and cup double. It was smooth sailing for the Stars who didn’t drop a point until a disaterious double header weekend which saw both Lee Valley and Bristol get the better of the Stars, however the Stars would rebound and find themselves in the mix for most of the season. Slough would lead the league for practically all the season, but the Stars managed to stay in contention long enough to set up a showdown at Oxpens Road, with the Stars winning the game to all but seal the title. Stars would later take promotion back to NIHL1.

2014/15 saw Stars play in Division One and were competitive in most games. Kyle Flemington was signed but left for the Elite League before a puck was dropped. Romanian international Zsolt Mastaleriu was signed but was inconsistent and left the team with a handful of games remaining. Evan Mackintosh arrived part way through the season and combined well with the British players. Stars relied on the points from James Pentecost and the netminding of James Skaife and secured a point in their final league match at Chelmsford to ensure survival in Division One.

Hopes were high for 2015/16 with Andrew Magee and Andrew Bates signed as the team imports. Bates left the team before the first puck dropped and Magee was too soon follow. The stellar signing of British forward Steve Osman didn’t pay off as he was soon also packing his bags for Invicta. Shane Moore, an experienced Premier League defenceman arrived from Swindon and soon became a fans favourite with his combative style. Coach Simon Anderson was able to recruit replacement imports in Bois Ruzicka and Ondrej Pekarik. Pekarik took a while to find his feet and fitness but grew with the team as they continued to impress. Ben Ealey-Newman impressed in his first season with the Stars, but the real key to Stars final league placing was the signing of netminder Tom Annetts from the troubled Bracknell organisation. Stars finished fourth in the league and faced Streatham in the play-offs. Despite a lead from the home first leg, Stars succumbed to an overtime goal in the return leg in London. Coach Simon Anderson was vital in the team’s success and this was to be rewarded in Summer 2016 when he signed a two year contract deal with the Stars.

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