SLOUGH Jets joint-owner Zoran Kozic has outlined his vision to haul his beloved ice hockey club back into the big time.

Kozic said his focus is now on providing the best platform to nurture youngsters that can break into the first team and get the club back into the English Premier Ice Hockey League (EPIHL).

Speaking exclusively to the Observer after he announced that Jets will drop out of the second tier of British hockey, he explained the rising cost of running the team and dwindling attendances meant the club was unsustainable.

Kozic said: “I have a vision but that is to do with the junior development, my plan is to improve the level of junior hockey. When we took over the junior programme around four years ago it was very poorly run.

“Most other clubs had a very good programme with players coming through. In the end, to compete, we had to bring players in from elsewhere. That is not a sustainable set up.” Kozic said considerable investment has been ploughed into the set up, which is now starting to deliver results.

He added: “Kids here have nearly triple the amount of ice-time compared to what other clubs offer, they will improve.

“It’s an investment. There has been a lot of effort and money spent on coaching. We want our kids to develop and raise the level of British ice hockey. The only way to do that is to improve the junior programme, and that takes time.

“The junior teams have delivered their highest league finishes for 10 years, with the under-14s team going to national finals.

“Hockey in the UK has been going downhill for the past five years because people don’t invest in junior levels and development.

“Some of the youngsters could play in the National Ice Hockey League Two team. They were not good enough to play in the EPIHL.

“This will allow our kids to develop. Over time, as the programme improves, we can create something more sustainable.” **PICK up a copy of the Observer, out now, for all the latest sports news and action including an exclusive interview with Ghislaine Kozic of Slough Jets** **FOLLOW the Observer on Twitter at @Observer_sports**