OXFORD City Stars have added experienced defender Alex Staples to their squad for next season.

The 27-year-old has made more than 250 appearances for Chelmsford Chieftains, where he was assistant captain, and it is hoped he will become a key player in the defensive unit at Oxpens.

Staples’ relocation made staying with the Essex club unfeasible and a connection with Stars skipper Darren Elliott sealed a move to Oxpens.

He said: “Oxford are a team that I’ve admired from afar over the last few seasons, and the team has been improving year on year and caused upsets against top sides in NIHL1.

“I’ve recently moved to the Oxford area and it wasn’t practical for me to keep playing at Chelmsford when you factor in travel and time commitments.

“ I had a quick chat with Darren who I played with back at Chelmsford in 2011/2012, and I was sold.

“Oxford have a professional set-up, do a lot for hockey in the community, and most importantly have a great bunch of guys.”

A deal had been agreed a month ago, but formalities were held up amid uncertainty over the collapse of the NIHL1 Conference system.

Darryl Morvan, who has returned to Stars as head of hockey operations, said: “When you’ve got a player of the calibre of Alex knocking on your door to play, the decision is an easy one.”