Oxford City Stars are back in action this weekend for the first time after an 18-month COVID-19 enforced shutdown.
The Stars last played in March 2020 before the club’s NIHL Division One South league campaign was abruptly halted by the pandemic.
The 2020/21 season did not take place – but ice hockey is finally returning this season.
To prepare for the league campaign the Stars are playing Coventry NIHL Blaze in a challenge weekend away on Saturday and at home on Sunday.
The league action then starts away at reigning champions Streatham Redhawks on September 18 and at home against Slough Jets on September 19.
Head Coach Dean Birrell has recruited wisely during the summer and has created a squad that combines youth and experience.
Birrell said: “We’re looking forward to the challenge weekend and playing in front of our fans again.
“It’s been a long time coming and I’m sure it will be an emotional moment for everyone when we hit the ice again.
“We’ve had a long pre-season to get the squad skating and on the ice again after a long time.
“The squad is good, we have signed some very good young players, retained our senior guys and added some additional experience too.
“I’m looking to develop a brand of fast, intense ice hockey at Oxford and we can’t wait to get going again at last.”
Ahead of the challenge weekend the club is hosting a supporters’ BBQ at Littlemore Rugby Club on Friday evening from 6pm.
Stars v Coventry at Oxford ice rink on Sunday September 5 face off 6.15pm.