DARREN Elliott has challenged young ice hockey players to emulate his career after scooping the top prize at the 2019 Oxfordshire Sports Awards.

The Oxford City Stars veteran was named sportsman of the year at the event at Cowley’s MINI Plant, beating tumbling champion Ben Goodall and taekwondo ace Chris Dudman.

Elliott retired last season after playing at Oxpens for 27 of his 29 years, but remains involved at Stars as assistant manager and youth coach.

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And with his six-year-old son Noah among the youngsters under his tutelage, Elliott is keen to leave a legacy.

He said: “It’s non-stop, but when you do something you love it’s hard to stop, especially when it’s full-time.

“To have my little boy playing gives me another reason to carry on.”

Elliott added: “My work’s not done here. Now it’s on to the next 15 years.

“I want to see young Oxford lads doing what I’ve done and stick around for 30 years and pick up awards like this in the future.”

The Stars stalwart joined the club aged ten and broke into the first team at just 15, scoring and providing an assist on debut.

He has played an integral role ever since, other than a year apiece at Basingstoke and Chelmsford when his boyhood team temporarily folded.

Elliott helped the club claim the double in 2017/18, when Stars won English National League Division 2 South and the National Championship Trophy.

He previously won coach of the year at the 2014 sports awards, 12 months after Stars bagged the team honour.

But with national champions Goodall and Dudman also up for the prize, the award was a shock.

He said: “I wouldn’t have thought I’d have got it – I was up against someone who's ranked No 5 in the world in taekwondo and another guy who has got gold medals.

“Getting the trio is pretty nice.”

As a lifelong Oxford resident, the award is extra special for Elliott.

He said: “It’s a massive achievement for me and a real good way to cap off my career.

“I’m home-grown and I love to put my time and effort into Oxford.”