Raiders and Stars fans unite in protest

Fans of Wightlink Raiders and Oxford City Stars will join forces this weekend to protest about recent issues which have impacted both clubs.

Around 70 Raiders fans are travelling to Oxford on Sunday for the Stars’ NIHL1 South game against Streatham IHC.

The group plans to voice their concerns over the closure of Ryde Arena which has forced the club off the ice for the foreseeable future.

They will be joined by Stars fans whose own club is in dispute with its local council over expensive car parking charges at their rink, storage problems and ice time fees.

Lisa Williams from the Ryde Arena Community Action Group has organised the protest.

She says AEW Europe, which represents Ryde Arena’s leaseholder Bank of New York Mellon, has already ripped up the ice at the facility and stopped all communication apart from trying to buy the freehold from the council and trying to sell them the leasehold for £3 million.

“The aim of our group is to regain an ice facility on the Island – we currently have skaters from six years upwards setting out on journeys in the early hours of the morning to skate on the mainland,” said Williams

“Great Britain player Sophie Herbert and her parents are facing having to move off the island because the rink has closed.

“Sunday’s protest has a dual purpose. We’ll be protesting against the treatment of our community and trying to regain our ice facility.

“We’re also supporting the Stars’ directors in their quest for cheaper parking fees, as these are ludicrous and far too expensive.

“When the Raiders played there, some fans paid £12 just to park – home fans have to pay this all the time.

“With Oxford kindly offering free entry to Raiders fans on Sunday, and with both teams having most of the Raiders’ roster between them now, it’s an ideal opportunity to make our voices heard.

“Our fans will be wearing their Raiders tops, so hopefully we can get three sets of supporters all chanting WE LOVE HOCKEY! between the first and second periods.”

(Image permission: David Trevallion)

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