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SPORTS AWARDS: Stars are over the moon with win
The loudest cheer of the night came from two rowdy tables in the middle of the room at the Oxfordshire Sports Awards at the Kassam Stadium.
When Oxford City Stars were named team of the year in the Oxfordshire Sports Awards, the Kassam Stadium erupted.
“We are an ice hockey team who are Oxford through and through,” said captain Darren Elliott.
“We are nearly all home-grown guys and you wouldn’t believe how much this award means.
“It has been a great year and this just caps it all, we are just over the moon to win this.”
It looked like Stars would fold at the very start of 2012 when a mass exodus of players left the club on the brink.
But their turnaround has been nothing short of sensational.
Going back to their roots and signing a young, hungry team, comprising mainly of Oxford skaters, Stars reformed and embarked on a sensational run that saw them record 13 successive victories to win the English National League South Division 2 title.
They decided the long-term future of the club was more important than short-term ambition and declined promotion to ensure the club was on a sound footing.
Their winning run continued into this season, and it was only ended last month after 20 straight victories when they lost to Lee Valley Lions. They have since lost twice more, but Elliott says the future is bright.
“You win a league and every team you play against raises their game,” he said.
“It wasn’t so long ago that we would play in front of 50-100 people if we were lucky.
“Now it’s up to around 400 so everyone can see that we are building all the time and getting bigger and bigger. They are exciting times for all of us.”
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