Oxford City Stars have confirmed to the EIHA our intention to compete in the NIHL Division One South next season.
After more than a year without ice hockey due to the pandemic the Stars now anticipate a return to competitive action for the 2021/22 season. We understand this is subject to government guideline and the changing nature of the pandemic. But with restrictions continuing to ease we are planning for a return to action – with crowds - this September.
The pandemic has been incredibly challenging for everyone and we hope everyone in the Stars community is safe and well. The Stars have not played since March 2020 and everyone has missed ice hockey. Work has continued and we have been in regular dialogue with the EIHA and other clubs. We have regularly revised plans and continue to work on making sure the club remains sustainable, especially in a challenging economic environment.
Head Coach Dean Birrell is active in the player recruitment market and we hope to be able to announce signings in the coming weeks. The junior club has returned to its weekly training sessions, which coincided with the re-opening of the ice rink.
The league format for the 2021/22 has not yet been confirmed and we are also in talks with Fusion, who operate the ice rink regarding matchday operations. Therefore, at this stage it is too early to put season tickets on sale.
There is a lot to do to reignite the club and make sure we are ready to host ice hockey again.
Stars’ director Greig Box Turnbull said: “We are excited about a return in September. By the time the Stars skate out at Oxpens again we would have had an 18-month void. Everyone has missed ice hockey and many are looking forward to continuing to return to a sense of normality.
“We understand the return still depends on the status of the pandemic and government guidelines, but we are optimistic at this stage. It is important we plan for a return to action to ensure we are ready. When we do get back on the ice it will be an incredible moment for everyone."
Stars' director Jo Mundy said: “It is a challenge for the club after more than a year with no income and we will be working hard to attract sponsors and promotes our fixtures, as always. We hope the Oxfordshire public back the club as always and together we can get the show back on the road. We are looking forward to welcoming people back and seeing everyone again. We will need people to support the club and the players more than ever."