The Famous Five
The Oliver brothers (pictured) join Joe Edwards and Dax Hedges as the last batch of existing Oxford City Stars players to be confirmed on the roster for next season.
Between them, Nick, Joe and Josh Oliver, have accumulated a grand total of 27 seasons for Oxford City Stars. All three of them played pivotal roles in the back-to-back division 2 championships seasons of 2013 and 2014, and played a big role in last season’s successful survival campaign in NIHL1.
Head coach Simon Anderson is delighted to have secured the signings of all three of the Olivers for another season, he commented: “It was crucial getting them back – they are part of the furniture here and they all bring different attributes and strengths to our roster.
“Joe is a dependable D-man, who last year played every game for us. He skates well, reads the game excellent and is a very capable top four D-man in this league. We will be looking for Joe to continue where he left off last season and be a real leader and valuable part of our team moving forward.
“Nick was someone who improved with every game last season. Very good in the face-off circle and gives us strength down the middle. Like his brothers, he’s a very good skater and chips in with vital goals at important times. He plays a good 200ft game and we will be looking to Nick to continue his development and continue to be a leader in the locker room.
“Josh is one of the best forwards in this league. We were close to not having him this year, because he wanted to have a year out. But as the summer has moved on and he saw what we were building here, he decided he wanted to be part of it and we are delighted to have him back. Again plays both ends of the rink, can play gritty also and his 19 goals last season show how much we would have missed him had he not come back. We will look for Josh to put up similar numbers and we are confident he can do that”.
Edwards has also been integral to the Stars’ recent successes and picked up 32 points from 32 games in division one last season, with 17 goals and 15 assists. Like the Olivers and Hedges, Edwards is from the city, and is very much a firm fans’ favourite at Oxpens Road.
Anderson knows Edwards will play an important role for the Stars this season, he said: “Joe is one of our most skilled forward, if not the most. What he can do with the puck is unbelievable. He put up good numbers for a guy who was probably for most of the season a third line guy last year. He has the potential to be a top six forward in this league and I think he will have a good year. He’s a great guy to have around the place. If we can get him to work hard defensively, then he could be a key guy for us. We will look for him to improve his overall game and really push himself to become the well-rounded player that we know he can be.”
Hedges has seven seasons under his belt with Oxford City Stars, and re-joined the club at the start of the division 2 double winning season, having spent a short spell at Streatham Redskins in 2012. Anderson highlighted the importance of having players like Hedges in the squad.”Dax is a great guy and real team first player. He’s a great little centre, who plays bigger than his size. He doesn’t mind doing all the dirty work in the corners and is happy to drop the gloves if needed. We are looking for Dax to be the same as he was last season, playing solid in all three zones and maybe chipping in with a few more goals, which I know he is capable of.”
Anderson is confident in the roster he has put together for the coming season, and is only looking at the possibility of adding one more player “I do have one spot open for a D-man and something may happen in the coming days/weeks. I am in talks with 3 players for this last spot and we will just have to see how negotiations go. If nothing happens, I am quite confident the team we have put together is going to be a match for any team in this league and we cannot wait for the season to start.