SPORTS fans will no longer have premier league ice hockey on their doorstep after Slough Jets announced it is pulling out of the second tier of British hockey.

Club owners Zoran and Ghislaine Kozic said the decision to drop out of the English Premier Ice Hockey League (EPIHL) was made with ‘great regrets’ and a ‘heavy heart’.

They said it was down to rising costs, falling attendances and the club not achieving its goals, with the Jets missing out on a play-off place this season – for a title they won in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

A club statement, released on Friday, read: “Over the last few years pressures have risen from increasing costs and dropping attendances and this has meant that this season we have not achieved any of our goals.

“Many people have been aware of our goals this season and have given everything to strive for them, but even with the belief and passion it would work, things took a turn for the worse for the second half of this season. Despite recent success for the club we have also been unable to build our sponsorship to our desired level.” Scores of people took to Twitter to react to the news including fellow league clubs which expressed their shock and sadness.

Former player Stephen Wall tweeted: “Slough Jets it was a honour to play at The Hangar for a year and half, so many great memories I won’t forget that’s for sure #jetsfamily” Fan and hockey announcer Mark Denholm also tweeted: “And in my personal opinion I am gutted. In my honest opinion EPL is easily still viable but now gone and 28 proud years is confined to history #jetsfamily” The club will now enter a team in the National Ice Hockey League 2 – two tiers below the EPIHL. It will continue to play games at The Hangar, at Absolutely Ice, Montem Road. The owners thanked dedicated volunteers for their time in running the club and urged fans to continue to support the team.

The statement added: “We must say our final goodbye and deepest thank you to all those who have continually been supporters of the Slough Jets.” **SEE Friday's Observer for all the latest sports action and more news from Slough Jets** **FOLLOW the Observer on Twitter at @Observer_sports**