On behalf of everyone at Oxford City Stars we hope you are all keeping safe and well.
The most important thing right now is that everyone keeps safe and healthy. We all miss the ice hockey, but with so many people suffering right now health comes first. For anyone who has been directly impacted by COVID-19 our thoughts are with you.
As a club we have committed to providing free entry to any NHS and other emergency services staff next season, as our way of saying thank you. We will also proudly display an NHS badge on our jerseys next season. The way our key workers have responded to this crisis has been incredible and we will continue to do what we can as a club to extend our gratitude.
Elsewhere, I am proud to say some of our players have signed up as NHS volunteers to provide support services in Oxfordshire. Meanwhile our head of junior development Darren Elliott has been providing many of our young players with off-ice coaching sessions via group Zoom calls during the lock down, to keep them engaged, fit and active. More than 100 youngsters have been taking part in the sessions.
It is important as a club we stick together and remain part of the community and continue to support one another. If there is something you think the club could help with during this difficult era, please do get in touch for a chat.
Invaluable coaching experience
On the sport side of the club the appointment of Dean Birrell as head coach is a major positive. Dean has an excellent track record and we are delighted to have secured his services. Dean is experienced at building side and developing young players. This experience will be invaluable to the Stars. Dean is making progress on the recruitment side and we will be communicating news of signings across the summer. As ever there will be players leaving and joining, such is the nature of sport.
With the season ending unexpectedly we held our end of season awards party online and announced the winners of each award on social media. Congratulations to everyone who won an award. Andrew ‘Selfie’ Self also did the club proud with an excellent online broadcast via Oxfordshire Sports Online, in which he interviewed several Stars player. It is a must listen for Stars fans and if you missed it the good news is it is available on the archive section of the Oxfordshire Sports Online website: http://www.oxso.co.uk/
May I also take this opportunity to further thank you all for your support last season: coaches, players, back room staff, volunteers, sponsors, supporters, and media. You all played a part and together we made progress, as a club. Your Stars only works by us all contributing and every positive contribution collectively makes a difference.
On that note we are actively looking for more volunteers to be part of the club. If you have a skill set that you think could make a difference, please get in touch. We are particularly interested in hearing from budding videographers and graphic designers, plus fans that could help sell sponsorship.
Additionally, as ever we need sponsors to support the club. We have fantastic value for money packages available for businesses and work with companies to devise sponsorship and advertising partnerships that support your business goals. While it is a very difficult time it is an opportunity to partner with a not-for-profit-community-club if you are able.
You can get in touch via: firstname.lastname@example.org
COVID-19 has without doubt had a huge impact on the sport and events industries globally. At this stage we do not know when the season will restart. Currently we believe the usual September start is unrealistic. Furthermore, there is a lot of media talk about some sports playing behind closed doors, with TV showing games. Currently ice hockey at our level is not televised. As a not-for-profit-community-club we rely on supporters and sponsors to survive and frankly as a club it would not be viable for us to play behind closed doors.
Therefore, like everyone all we can do is prepare as best we can for a new season and wait and follow official advice. The uncertainty does make it challenging to budget for a new season. Sponsorship at the same historic level could be difficult, and it remains to be seen how strong attendances will be given the circumstances. Therefore, it is difficult to look ahead with the degree of certainly that we did this time last year. On this basis we have adjusted the playing budget to an effort to ensure the club can continue to live within its means. Even then we are facing a challenging time as a club. But that said we remain confident we will continue to be competitive on the ice.
We all face challenges and together we are stronger. More than ever we all need to pull together and do our best to support each other and your great club.
Please keep safe.
Best wishes, Greig