As Oxford City Stars new squad for the forthcoming season starts to take shape, they’ve been given a timely boost with the return of Dax Hedges, an energetic young forward from the city.
The 24 year old took a year out of the game to travel, but he’s now back in the UK and will be looking to find the back of net alongside some familiar faces in NIHL1.
The Stars have also confirmed that James Pentecost and Joe Edwards, both also 24 year old forwards, have signed for another season on the ice at Oxpens.
Hedges and Edwards have played hockey together in Oxford since they were kids and both featured in the NIHL2 championship winning Oxford City Stars team of the 2012/13 season. The Stars chose to defend that title in NIHL2 last season and Hedges and is now looking forward to re-joining the team playing a division higher, “I’m really happy to be back playing in Oxford. It’s good to have the team back in the NIHL1 to give the club and the kids something to aspire to. I’m hoping to bring a bit of energy into the team and looking forward to playing for a good bunch of guys again.”
Pentecost joined the Stars midway through last season’s title winning campaign from Peterborough Islanders, making an immediate impact and quickly becoming a crowd favourite. The talented forward is happy to have signed for another season, “It was great to come to Oxford last season and be apart of such a successful campaign. So of course I was pleased when Darren wanted me to stay. We face a difficult challenge this year, but I feel it’s something the team are ready for, and I am ready to be as influential as possible to help us win games. I know what is expected of me this season and I am looking forwards to getting started.”
Edwards played a key role in both of the Stars’ consecutive championship seasons and is another of the many Oxford-born players making up the core of the side that’s helped make the side so popular in the city. He is looking forward to linking up with his old friend “We played roller hockey together from the age of six. Because we’ve played so long together, we know each other’s games back to front – it’s just second nature. He’s hard working – you don’t know where he gets his energy from, he just doesn’t stop.”
The Stars coach, Darren Elliott is happy to reunite Hedges with his Oxford “We’re really pleased to have Dax back – especially as we’re going up a division – he brings a lot of speed and likes to get involved – he’s a really good face off man too – he brings lots good points to the team like that, which are sometimes difficult to find.
“Joe’s a great talent, he’s got great skill and stick handling, and a good eye for net. Another real team guy. They’re both from Oxford and that’s something we’re keen to keep central to what we’re doing.”
Moving up a division though, there’s room for a couple of people from slightly further afield – Elliott added: “I’d had my eyes on James Pentecost for a while, so we were really glad to get him before the transfer window closed last season. He moves the puck well, he’s easy to work play with, strong on the puck, chips in with a few goals. He’s got a lot of experience and has played at a good level.