A PACKED house made Oxford City Stars’ title celebrations even more special for stalwart Darren Elliott.

A 3-1 victory against Solent Devils sealed the English Ice Hockey National League South Division 2 crown with a match to spare.

Elliott had been player/coach for two league championships, but both were sealed on the road.

The captain took home the trophy on Sunday night and having the opportunity to lift it in front of a sold-out Oxpens rink was a real highlight from his 17 seasons at the club.

“It’s the first time we have won it at home,” he said.

“It was a massive night for everyone. There was a lot of pressure on us, but we handled it.

“It’s a testament to what the guys have done on and off the ice.

“Having the crowd pumps the players up. It’s like having an extra body on the ice.

“It’s grown through the season.

“Last year we had a record of just under 1,000, but it was a one-off.

“This year it’s been week-in, week-out.”

The demand for the game meant Stars had to turn people away once the rink was full.

Director Greig Box Turnbull said: “The queue was around the block an hour before face-off – that’s phenomenal

“It was great to see the scenes at the end – they will be memories that will last for a lifetime.”

Kenny Redmond, Stars’ head coach, said: “I felt we were the best team, but until we proved it on the ice we couldn’t talk about it. We are delighted.

“We have a great bunch of guys who train hard every night and we have a great amount of unity.

“It makes my job a lot easier. We have a lot of talent in the team.

“The players deserved it for the dedication to the team.

“I’m delighted for them.”