Oxford City Stars have recruited a team of assistant coaches for the 2021/22 season.
Shane Moore, Carl Graham, Greg Blais and Darren Elliott will work closely with head coach Dean Birrell as the club’s senior coaching team.
The club worked across the summer to build a strong coaching set-up and add more experience to the back-room team to help develop the squad.
Moore who played for the Stars in 2015/16 before retiring from playing enjoyed an excellent playing career. He played extensively as a D-Man in the EPIHL for many seasons for clubs including Bracknell Bees, Milton Keynes Lightening and Swindon Wildcats.
Graham has signed to the Stars as an assistant coach and is registered a back up player and will ice if the club is short. The D-Man also spent most of his career in the EPIHL playing for clubs including Manchester Phoenix, Bracknell Bees and Basingstoke Bison.
Netminder Blais will coach across both the junior club and the Stars. He has also signed as a back up netminder. The Canadian has played in numerous countries including Canada, the US, Belgium, France, Norway and the UK. He has played for Cardiff Devils, Fife Flyers and Peterborough Phantoms. He has been a goaltending coach at Telford Tigers, Hull Stingrays, Peterborough Phantoms and Guildford Lightning.
Elliott who is the head of junior development at Oxford and former club captain has also joined the Stars’ coaching team. It further strengthens the alignment between the juniors and the seniors.
Birrell said: “We have built a strong coaching team that is full of experience. To have recruited guys with such strong track records speaks volumes of what we looking to build at Oxford. They have bought into our vision and they will be an excellent resource for the club, especially as we develop younger players. We now have specialist coaches covering goaltending, defence and attack.”
Moore said: “When I met Dean and understood his vision I knew I could bring some value to the club. I loved my time here previously as a player and I’m excited to give something back. We have big plans this season and I can’t wait to work with the team to drive the vision forward.”
Graham said: “After a long period with no hockey I’m very glad to be getting an opportunity with Oxford for this season. Dean has built a great team around an already solid core of players and I’m hoping I can bring some knowledge and experience to help the D Men and assist him with coaching. I’ll be skating in training and will also be available to play when required later in the season.”
Blais said: “I am excited to join the Stars for the season. I heard really good things about the club and I am keen to get back on the ice again. I am looking forward to working with the goalies in Oxford and I will be ready to play when needed.
“I played for a number of teams across Europe and Elite UK and I will bring experience and support to the team. I want to thank Dean and the club for allowing me to continue to play the game. I look forward to meeting everyone and I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Elliott said: “It is great to be involved with the senior team supporting Dean and the squad. It further strengthens the growing pathway for the juniors and I look forward to helping the squad and developing as a coach.”