|Oxford City Stars ENL1 South withdraw from League
Oxford City Stars - Announcement
It is with regret that we, the directors of Oxford City Stars, have to announce the immediate withdrawal of our team from the English National Ice Hockey League Division One South.
We feel we owe it to those who have supported the team over the years to explain our decision.
In November we were concerned about the diminishing performance level of the team but decided to take no action by a majority of 2 to 1 as we felt it was only fair to allow more time for the coach to turn things around bearing in mind the reasonable start to the season and the injury issues that the team had suffered. This decision led to the departure of one director. Things failed to improve so on 12 December we had a formal meeting with the team coach. Without going into detail the coach stated at the meeting that nothing much could be done but he hoped to get the team to the play-offs and thought we should be able to avoid relegation. He also told us that if we replaced him we could expect about half of the team to leave.
In the first month of the season we took 8 points from 8 games, since then we have gained 4 points in 17 games and the way things have been going has been reflected in us losing heavily to teams we took wins or points from earlier in the season. It has not just been the fact of losing, on a number of occasions it has also been the manner of defeat that has caused further concern. In our opinion the team has failed to play to the potential displayed early season both as individual players and as a team for quite some time. A similar pattern occurred last season culminating in the team missing the play-offs but on that occasion relegation was less of a realistic threat.
Following the heavy defeat against Chelmsford, a game where we had worked hard to try and build the attendance and to which we had invited a number of potential sponsors, we took the decision to make a coaching change. Our coach had told us he didn’t think he could do anything and the level of performance of the team was still going downhill so in our opinion we had little choice. We deferred any announcement until after Christmas as the coach has a young family and we felt it better to let Christmas go by before notifying him of our decision. We then met him on Tuesday December 27 and relieved him of his senior team coaching duties. We understand he resigned from his role with the Oxford junior club the following day. At this point it is only fair to mention that we had been aware of the availability of more than one other coach for quite some time so the decision was not taken without knowing who the replacement would be as ENL1 team coach.
Since releasing the coach eight senior players (five defencemen, two forwards and a netminder) have notified us that they will be leaving the club. Most of them have given their reason as the departure of the coach. At this stage of the season we are unable to replace such a large number of players and whilst we could possibly bring up players from the Oxford ENL2 team we feel that would be unfair to the players, our supporters and to other teams as our team would struggle to compete and complete the season and stripping them of players would obviously have a knock on effect to that ENL2 team.
John Harrison & Elaine Sutcliffe
Directors – Oxford City Stars ENL1
English National League Statement
It is always sad when a team folds when you know how much time, effort and commitment have been invested by all concerned. The management of Oxford have kept the LMC informed as the events have unfolded during the whole process and we fully understand the stance they have been forced to take.
What does this mean in practice for Oxford and the English National League? All game results so far will be removed from the league table and therefore point and league standings will change. Oxford will not be able to re-enter ENL1 until the season 2013/2014.