Now’s the time!
Oxford City Stars new campaign starts this Sunday with a big home at Oxpens.
The Stars face Bracknell Hornets in the opening clash (6.15pm face off). Tickets are on sale here.
It has been a big summer of change at Oxpens – with Greig Box Turnbull and Jo Mundy taking over the club and setting it up as a not-for-profit-community-club.
They moved quickly to appoint Simon Anderson as Head Coach, overseeing the Stars and the junior set-up, assisted by Darren Elliott who retired from playing in the summer.
A key part of the move was to align the junior set up with the Stars and develop a junior pathway to senior hockey.
Anderson has retained the core group of local players, including Josh Oliver, the Florey brothers, Dax Hedges, Mike Whillock and Joe Edwards who returned after a spell at MK Thunder.
He further strengthening the squad signing eight new players including imports Ryan Widmar and Ruslan Cernych, plus the Shone brothers from Bristol Pitbulls.
Josh Florey has been appointed as club captain – chosen by former captain Darren Elliot, who is now Assistant Coach after retiring at the end of last season.
Yellow and Blue has returned as the club colours following a fans’ vote in the summer.
The club is appealing for people to get behind the Stars and help ensure it becomes sustainable for us all to enjoy for generations.
Director Greig Box Turnbull said: “There are so many positives at the club.
“It’s huge that we’re back in Division One, it will be a big challenge, but it’s important Oxford hosts quality ice hockey.
“Hopefully the brilliant Oxfordshire public will get behind the club and come and support the team.
“Everyone at the club is so proud to represent Oxfordshire and our great city.”
Director Jo Mundy added: “It’s been a busy summer on all fronts.
“We need to make the club sustainable, so it is here for generations to come.
“To seek to achieve that we have started the process we need to produce homegrown players. But that will take time. Alongside that we are being sensible with costs and looking at ways to improve revenue.”
Greig added: “We’re working to re-connect the club with the county.
“The fans’ vote on the club colours was very popular in the summer.
“Seeing the team in yellow and blue at the weekend felt like a great step forward and there was a real buzz around the rink. Sunday is a big day for the club, back in Division One South.
“We have secured some fantastic sponsors, but we’re still a little short and will continue to work on building more partnerships.
“We’re also working on bringing schools back to home games and developing relationships with key partners like Oxford United and big employers like Oxford Bus Company.
“Everyone who has an affinity for the Stars and for sport and the county of Oxfordshire can play a part on this. It’s not about us, it’s about the club and the badge. The club will only become healthy if we all work together and support it the best we can. Whether that’s volunteering, bringing a friend to a game, or buying a t-shirt. It all helps and makes a difference.”
Jo added: “The Stars is a great club and we’re all excited the new season is now about to get started. Hopefully we can pack the rink out on a regular basis, and all enjoy this together.
“When the rink is full and fans really make a noise, it does make a big difference to the players, they often comment on it.”
Looking ahead to the opening game, Head Coach Simon Anderson said Bracknell are a tough opening opponent.
He said: “Bracknell are a huge threat.
“Looking at their roster, they’re obviously one of the big budget teams and have a lot of talent and will be challenging for the title.
“They have a few ex Stars in the tier line up and I am sure it will be a great game.
“Hopefully we can start the season well and with the team giving their all and the crowds behind us we can give anyone a game.”