The Wanderers are thrilled to announce goalkeeper Christian Oxner is re-signing for the club’s 2020 Canadian Premier League campaign.
Halifax-born Oxner emerged as one of the key players and a crowd favourite in the team’s inaugural season.
The 23-year-old began the season on the bench — but forced his way into the starting line up — and went on to make the place his own with a series of accomplished performances in goal.
“Being able to play football in the city I grew up in is amazing and I want to take the opportunity like I took it this year and enjoy it and have fun and I can’t wait to get back out on the field,” Oxner said.
Head coach Stephen Hart describes Oxner’s re-signing as an important roster move in building the Wanderers squad for next season.
“The goalkeeper position is a key position in the spine of a team and this shows the confidence we have in Christian,” Hart said. “He showed his composure and made some big saves and commanded the box very well and I was impressed with his competitive nature.”
Oxner, who played for local team Dunbrack as a youngster, also caught Hart’s eye while playing for Saint Mary’s Huskies and Western Halifax FC.
He was initially chosen by the Wanderers in the CPL-U Sports Draft but was signed to his first professional contract just before preseason training in March.
After earning a spot in the Wanderers starting XI, Oxner went on to record an impressive six clean sheets in the CPL and made a series of acrobatic saves and two stunning penalty kick stops along the way.
“Christian epitomizes the type of player we want to build our club around and we couldn’t be more proud of how he embraced his opportunity and earned his way onto our 2020 squad,” stated club President and Founder Derek Martin. “Our club and our league was created for athletes like Christian and we look forward to watching him continue to grow as a player and a person in the years to come.”
The keeper was an instant hit with the Wanderers Grounds crowd, who affectionately nicknamed him ‘The Ox’.
Playing in front of family and friends in Halifax, he would always be seen after the games talking to fans on the sidelines, taking pictures and signing autographs.
“It’s a good feeling, it’s surreal. I go out there and try and set a good example for all the kids who look up to us in Nova Scotia, The Maritimes and across Canada,” he said.
Having re-signed for his hometown club, Oxner said he will be working hard through the winter to get in the best possible condition to improve as a player next season.
“Whenever you start a new season you go in with the goal to win the league and that’s the expectation I will carry within myself to deliver that to the fans of Halifax who more than deserve it,” he said.
Hart explained Oxner’s return is the first move in assembling a squad that’s able to contend next season.
“We have no illusions of where we finished in the table and with that in mind we have prioritized a certain manner in which we want to rebuild the team,” Hart said.
The Christian Oxner news is the first of a number of player announcements the club will be making in the next few weeks, so stay tuned as the Wanderers begin to prepare for the 2020 CPL campaign.