DARREN Elliott says he has been overwhelmed by the level of support for his testimonial.

The Oxford City Stars legend called time on his illustrious ice hockey career at the end of the 2018/19 campaign after 29 years of service.

He spent 27 of those with his hometown club and the 38-year-old is set for a memorable send-off tomorrow.

Tickets for a special match between an Elliott Select team and Stars’ current crop, which starts at 5.30pm, have set a club record for online pre-sales and the positive response has stunned the stalwart.

“I don’t think you realise the impact you’ve made until you stop,” he said.

“Obviously you are given a nickname and everyone used to call me ‘Mr Oxford’ because I’ve always played here.

“But it wasn’t until I announced my retirement and people sent me messages and thanks from younger players at the rink, that it hit home.”

Elliott, who scored 292 goals in a club record 452 games, added: “The ones that get you the most are fans.

“I didn’t realise how much fun they’d had watching me on the ice.

“There are a couple of families that come down to the games and I’d always interact with them and they’ve said things like ‘you don’t know how much you will be missed’.

“It makes you want to carry on, but everything has to come to an end.

“You always want to leave a nice impact no matter what you do in life.

“So if I can leave good memories for people who pay to come through the door and watch, that’s massive.”

More than 30 players are signed up to play tomorrow, including Elliott’s son Noah and nephew Oscar.

The level of interest was so high that he had to turn people down.

“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, saying ‘no’ to people,” said Elliott.

“As soon as you ask a few, word gets around and they say ‘I would love to be part of it’ and it’s quite overwhelming.

“There’s people I’ve played against who I’ve had quite vicious rivalries with and a few that wanted to get their hands on me to be honest.

“There will be a lot of characters and personalities, it’s quite exciting and something to look forward to.”

Elliott will still be heavily involved with the club, assisting head coach Simon Anderson across the junior and senior ranks.

“This is a big sign off – a big finish,” he said.

“And it’s the start of something new going into coaching.”