OXFORD City Stars continue to build their squad ahead of the new season, with the defence the latest area to be further strengthened.

The Stars, who last month added former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, have brought in Harry Hatfield and Chris Cooke.

Hatfield’s previous clubs include Guildford Phoenix and Slough Jets, and he joins after stepping away from National Ice Hockey League 1 in recent years due to commitments in the army.

READ ALSO: Three more players follow Petr Cech through the door at Oxford City Stars

Stars head coach Simon Anderson told the club website: “Harry is a superb addition and strengthens our D-core immensely – we are extremely lucky to have him pull on the Stars jersey for next season.

“Talking to him during the summer, it was clear he is a team first guy and really wants to help improve us in all areas both on and off the ice.

“Speaking to other players about him, every conversation was about how great a player and person he is, and they are the traits we have been looking for in all of our players for next season.

“He plays a smart two-way game and is not afraid to play gritty and stick up for his teammates if necessary.”

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Hatfield added: “After Simon contacted me regarding signing with the club, in his efforts to strengthen his blue line, it was an extremely easy decision for me.

“After playing at Oxpens Road against Oxford many times, they have always come across as an extremely well-run club, always putting their players and fans first.

“After a couple of years away from the league due to work commitments being in the army, I am now out and ready to go.

“I look forward to competing again, in what is set to be a great season for the Stars, with the recruitment being done on and off the ice for next season.”

Stars have also announced that Cooke, who served as assistant captain last season, will return for his third consecutive campaign with the club.

Anderson said: “Having Chris back for another season is a significant boost for our team. His leadership, experience and exceptional defensive abilities make him a valuable asset on and off the ice.

“We are fortunate to have him as part of the Stars family, and I have no doubt that his presence will elevate our game to new levels.

“Cookie brings a wealth of leadership qualities and knows what it takes to be successful in this league.

“It was no surprise to me that some of our better performances were when he was in our line-up last season. He brings a calmness to our on ice play, reads the game well and plays an effective simple game.”

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About the author

To sign up to Liam’s latest Oxford United newsletter for free, click here: https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/newsletters/

Formerly the politics reporter for the Oxford Mail, Liam now covers all things Oxford United.

Liam attends the U’s home and away, as well as covering other big sports stories across the county.

His Oxford United newsletter is released every Saturday morning at 6am.