Lack of ice time scuppers bid to bring senior pro ice hockey back to Slough

Lack of ice time scuppers bid to bring senior pro ice hockey back to Slough

Lack of ice time scuppers bid to bring senior pro ice hockey back to Slough

 

Gary Stefan

An attempt to bring top level ice hockey back to Slough appears to have hit the buffers after the people proposing the idea were told that no ice time is available at The Hangar.

Gary Stefan, who helped form the club in 1986, and Mark Denholm, had hoped to establish a new senior level side in the town, but Slapshot Ltd, owned by Slough Jets owners Zoran Kozic and Ghislaine Nassif, have refused to rent them ice time at the AbsolutelyIce arena for matches and practice.

The Jets have said they’re now concentrating on developing youth talent, and have plans to use the ice time in the future. Slapshot have control of the ice time at the Slough arena until 2017. 

Gary and Mark came up with their proposal for a new Slough side after the Jets were pulled from the EPIHL this season. TheJets will run a development team in the lower NIHL2 League this season, and will focus on progressing young talent, with a view to reforming the Jets pro side in the years to come.

“Zoran and Ghislaine own the Slough Jets name but we wanted to bring a senior level of hockey to Slough again,” said Denholm.

“We had hoped to run it alongside their plans, so they could still run the junior programme. With no EPL team being run it stood to reason that the ice time would be otherwise sitting vacant, so we asked Steve (English) to ask Zoran (Kozic) to sell us the ice time we needed.

“But unfortunately they’ve said no and the one thing you need to run an ice hockey club is an ice rink, and they’re in short supply.”

The pair believe they can create a side capable of challenging at the top level again, but they’ll have to persuade SlapshotLtd to rent them the ice time, if they want to do that in Slough. They’ve pledged to continue fighting for the return of top level hockey to Slough.

“Gary and I have worked hard over the past few months getting everything in order to build and run a successfulEPIHLteam from Slough,” said Denholm, who worked for the Jets for several seasons before this summer.

“We wanted people to know there is a way to retain EPIHL ice hockey inSlough, if the ice time was made available by Slapshot, but for some unexplained reason the request was denied.”

A Jets statement released this week said: “We have taken the decision to allocate more ice time to children. By dropping down from the EPL we have now been able to allocate additional hours of ice time each week to children, and as a result of these changes the average child will be skating the same amount as everywhere else in the hockeyworld.”

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