Welcome: Ben, Jason and Shannon
The Oxford City Stars roster for next season is really beginning to take shape with a trio of new signings. The Stars have strengthened from front to back with a new forward, a new defenceman and a new netminder.
First up is a talented young forward by the name of Ben Ealey-Newman. The 18 year old joins the Stars from Slough Jets and already has a stack of goals to his name in NIHL2. He has recently made the step up from the Under 18s in Slough and played alongside Stars favourites Alan Green and Andy Cox, both of whom re-signed for the Stars from the Jets this summer.
Stars head coach Simon Anderson is sure the youngster has what it takes to make the step up to senior ice hockey in division one; he commented “Ben is NIHL1 ready for sure. I know he had a few offers from teams in our league, so other coaches in our league “obviously think so too. He is a strong kid ,works the walls and corners well, has a tremendous release and I think he will thrive and develop playing for the Stars. He has scored a lot of points at the lower levels and he deserves the chance to show that he can do at this level and we are delighted that he has chosen us to prove just that”.
Joining Ealey-Newman out on the ice will be Jason Ikin, another highly talented 18 year old who comes to Oxford from the Bracknell Drones Under 18s. The young defenceman has turned plenty of heads in his short career so far, and Anderson believes Stars fans will be impressed by his qualities; Anderson said: “Jason is someone I have been aware of for a little while now – he has gone under the radar somewhat like a lot of kids do at the under 18 level. He came to skate during our summer league and I like what I saw – I just have a feeling that he is going to be a decent signing for us. He is a great kid, positionally very good, makes a decent first pass and is big kid for his age and he’s happy to throw his body around. I am really looking forward to working with him”.
The third signing is a 21 year old netminder by the name of Shannon Long who will be contesting the netminder spot with Connor Ranby who joined the Stars earlier in the summer. Long joins from Wightlink Raiders and has plenty of hockey behind him having also featured for the Bracknell Hornets, Trafford Metros, Bristol Putbulls and the Swindon Wildcats.
Anderson believes healthy competition for the goalie’s jersey will do the Stars the world of good having lost last season’s star man James Skaife earlier in the season. Anderson said, “For a few weeks now we have been looking for the right guy to along with Connor Ranby and give us two quality Netminders. We believe Shannon’s that man – they’ll push one another throughout the season. It’s been a hard job replacing Skaifey, but I am delighted that Shannon has joined us to make our team stronger. He is a great guy in the locker room and has really impressed me on the ice during our summer league .As with Connor he spent most of last season as a backup goalie, but he will get plenty of opportunities this season to show he is a legitimate goalie in this league.