A NEW management team involving Slough Jets founder Gary Stefan has so far failed in their attempts to bring premier ice hockey back to Slough.

Stefan and Mark Denholm have been working to resurrect the senior hockey team at Slough with a view to returning to the English Premier Ice Hockey League (EPIHL).

Slapshot Ltd - owned by Ghislaine Nassif and Zoran Kozic - has a rental contract with Absolutely Ice which is preventing the rink operator from awarding the necessary ice time to run a team independent of the existing set-up.

Last Friday, Stefan and Denholm made a request for the game (Saturday) and practice (Tuesday and Thursday) slots on the ice. However, it is believed the enquiry was rejected by Kozic and Slapshot general manager Steve English yesterday (Tuesday).

Stefan and Denholm say they have a business plan and budget in place and are frustrated with Slapshot Ltd's lack of co-operation In a statement released today (Wednesday), a disappointed Stefan said: “In conjunction with Slough Borough Council, I set Slough Jets up in 1986 to play ice hockey at the highest level possible, and we’ve done that from 1986-2014.

“Unfortunately, current owners Slapshot found it was no longer feasible to maintain the team at that level.

“As someone who has always had the love of the team at heart, despite not being directly involved for a few years, I feel I must always try and help to keep my vision of the Slough Jets alive.” Denholm added: “Gary and I have worked hard over the last couple of months getting everything in order to build and run a successful EPIHL team from Slough.

“We approached Absolutely Ice, who informed us that the ice time we needed is under contract to Slapshot Ltd until 2017.

“With no EPIHL team being run, it stood to reason to us that the ice time would be otherwise sitting vacant, so we asked Steve and Zoran to sell us the time we needed.

“A reply from Steve was simply that Zoran told him the answer to our request was no.” He continued: “I’ve spoken to so many fans who have all expressed great sadness at what has become of the team they have loved and supported for many years.

“Some have told me they will watch EPIHL elsewhere until that level returns to Slough. Zoran has communicated to me by e-mail he does not foresee pro-hockey.

“Others have said they will try the development side he plans to run under the former professional team’s name in the lower National Ice Hockey League Two.

“The one common thing they’ve all said is they sadly saw no alternative to Slapshot Ltd, and I think it’s fair to let them know at this stage that there is an alternative and a way to retain EPIHL in Slough, if the ice time was made available by Slapshot.

“But for an unexplained reason the request has been denied.” Slapshot Ltd took control of Slough Jets in the summer of 2005 and under their ownership the team achieved success in the Premier Cup.

At the end of last season, they withdrew Jets from the EPIHL, leaving Slough with no premier sporting club playing from within the town.

Both Stefan and Denholm have pledged to continue in their attempts to return Slough to the highest level of hockey possible.

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