Oxford City Stars blast city’s council

Oxford City Stars say the city’s council are hampering their ambitions of playing at a higher level.

The Stars have released a statement on their official website detailing numerous issues which it claims may be generating over £160,000 in revenue for Oxford City Council across one single season.

These include ‘obscene’ car parking charges at their rink, storage problems and ice time fees – all of which leaves the NIHL1 South club facing an uncertain future.

Club Director James Schall (above centre) believes the club has the potential to step up to the EPL, but would need to more than double their turnover to achieve their goal.

“That is the dream, we are already beating the attendances of some Elite League clubs, such as Edinburgh, and we would be high in the EPL as well,” he told the Oxford Mail.

“Before the First World War Oxford had ice hockey sides that were European and World Champions and we were in the second tier in the 1980s, so it would be nice to get back.

“These are our ambitions but we need the support to reach those ambitions. We are working very hard and we would not want to worry fans about the future.

“But it means our goals of playing at the highest level cannot be achieved.”

Car parking is restricted at Oxford Ice Rink, with the majority of fans forced to pay £12 to park in Oxpens for the duration of a game.

Schall claims the council have reneged on a deal to offer fans a reduction in prices in return for a cut from ticket sales and says problems over adequate storage facilities at the rink are threatening the club’s future.

“We are not after any handouts, we just want to be able to thrive,” he added.

“Storage would allow us to keep the calibre of players we need, these guys are representing the city.

“The meetings that took place prior to the local elections in May 2016 were positive.

“In the following months however, bureaucratic failure to grasp the situation from the council was in stark contrast to the positive and mutually beneficial relationship we had forged with the ice rink management.”

Council representative Linda Smith said the authority were keen to support the Stars and claimed many of the issues raised had already been resolved.

“The club have raised a number of issues with us and we have reached a satisfactory conclusion on many,” she said.

“Others we are working on and have put proposals to the club.

“Obviously there is a limit to the steps that we can reasonably take to support an individual club, but our door is always open and we welcome new ideas about how we can work with sports clubs to maximise participation.

“We are very willing to discuss the club’s current concerns with them.”

(Image permission: Phil Elliott)

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