With the new season now just over three weeks away, Oxford City Stars are counting down and gearing up for the big face off, with the signing of three familiar names.
Veteran James Clarke and the Florey brothers Josh and Jake, have all put pen to paper confirming they’re on board for the coming season. The three players bring a balance of attacking and defensive play to Oxford’s game and they all played a big part of the championship and cup double season last year. They’re all eager to take on the next battle as Stars begin life again in NIHL1.
As the excitement and anticipation for the new season really starts to build, the 36 year old defenceman Clarke is keen to get stuck in, “I’m definitely looking forward to getting cracking now, it’s nice to be back in the fold and wearing the Stars jersey again. Being local I wanted to put all my energy and time back into the club where I learned my hockey – I’ve been playing here since I was seven or eight. And it’s nice to have the opportunity to carry on playing here.”
Clarke isn’t daunted by the step up a division, “I’ve played at this level before but it’ll be good for the newer fans to see us at a higher level, and for some of the younger players too. It’ll be good all round, it’s something fresh and something new and it’s really exciting for everyone.”
Coach Darren Elliott is aware of the excitement levels growing, and thinks that can only help buoy the team, “We’re really excited. Zsolt Mastaleriu and Kyle Flemington, our imported players are especially keen to get going. Everybody else has finished their holidays and keen to get the season kicked off. We’ve got a tough game to start the season away at Invicta and you can tell everybody involved with the club is buzzing about it.”
He said about the three signings this week, “The Floreys are two key players. Josh is a really skilful and speedy forward who chips in with goals and Jake is a great addition to our defence, having played for England at a junior level. It’s really good to have Clarkey back on board too, he’s played at a good level and has a lot of experience – it’ll be good to have him alongside the two imported defencemen Kyle and Zsolt as a bit of homegrown experience to support them.”
The signings cap an incredible couple of weeks for Stars fans who have been celebrating the signing of international hotshot Zsolt Mastaleriu, as well as the recent announcement of three more sponsors in Sega, Red Corner and Shaw City. They’ve also been making their plans for the new season with the fixtures and ticket details being released.
There’s plenty of news to come for Oxford City Stars fans to get their teeth into in the next couple of weeks as a remarkable summer draws to a close in time for the real business to get going on the ice… September 13 can’t come soon enough.