Oxford City Stars has formed a player development partnership with National League club the Bristol Honda Pitbulls.
The affiliation between the two clubs is designed to help generate a stronger development pathway for young players. It will see the Pitbulls loan players to the Stars, creating a link between the National Division squad and the next highest division to further develop local talent.
Shane Moore, Oxford City Stars’ Head of Hockey Operations said: “This is an important strategic partnership for the Stars and will enable us to give players a strong development pathway.
“We’re pleased to have partnered with the Pitbulls, as a club it set a great example last season in giving young players an opportunity. We are keen to work with them and offer those opportunities to players who want to progress. Jamie and I had many conversations to develop this relationship for both clubs and players and to ensure we all had the same vision.
“We’re looking forward to working closely together with Jamie, Richie & the rest of the Pitbulls’ organisation and developing the next generation of players between us.”
Bristol Honday Pitbulls has a partnership in place with Cardiff Devils in the Elite League to provide a pathway to the highest level of UK hockey. Its partnership with the Stars ensures it can provide opportunities to players at every level of the sport in the UK.
Jamie Elson, Bristol Honda Pitbulls’ Director of Hockey, said: “We want to be a club and location where young exciting talent want to come and play and develop, and with our partnership with the Cardiff Devils in the Elite League, we have that pathway to the highest level in the UK.
"But we wanted to make sure we have opportunities for our players at all levels, and the chance for players to make steps all the way through from our NIHL2 team up to the first team and beyond. So being able to put a formal partnership in place with Oxford at NIHL1 level was an important part of our club structure for next season.
“We now have the option of signing players and retaining them in Bristol as we work with them, but in effect loan them out to get much-needed game time and development at NIHL1 division. We have several players who were key parts of our club last year, who will benefit from this link-up as we look to assist them in developing into players that can play at the National League level.
“Speaking to Shane Moore it was great to hear about their plans in Oxford to take the club forward and what they wanted to do with the team this year. They are keen to work in partnership with us, and we can both see the benefits all round for the players and clubs. We are excited to take this forward and hope that it will be the start of a very successful partnership between us."
Jamie Elson ad Shane Moore