The announcement of a return to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions by the Premier during the week is a huge setback. It poses a significant blow to the ambitions of all hockey stakeholders in metropolitan Melbourne area and the Shire of Mitchell to realise a winter competition in 2020.
The actions of the government however, are a necessary step for the health and safety of not only the people residing in these areas, but the wider Victorian community.
The return to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions for a period of six weeks means that the planned 12 round & 15 round (Premier League & Reserves) competitions and the 2020 Junior State Championships will not proceed. This decision comes on the back of the unpredictability of returning to training and match play dates across all competition sections in the coming months.
In what provides the HV administration with optimism and hope, and should provide the wider Victorian hockey community with pride, the majority of our regional hockey associations will commence junior competition from next weekend.
‘Seeing kids from the regions return to hockey in Regional Victoria will give all of us a boost during this difficult time’, Andrew Skillern, HV CEO, explained.
HV will continue to monitor the situation closely with Sport & Recreation Victoria and the Chief Medical Officer in the coming weeks to work with all Regional Associations to resume Senior Hockey competitions in these areas when it is safe to do so.
The re-instatement of Stay at Home restrictions will affect a vast majority of our Clubs and members located within the metropolitan area. We were close to 11,000 players taking the field in the proposed round 1 matches between 17 – 25 July.
HV has asked all Metropolitan Club Presidents to focus internally in the coming weeks on their own members and ensure clubs stick together during this difficult period for the wider community.
‘The team at HV have been so proud of the conduct of our clubs during this difficult period and we know how important to the community sporting clubs (and hockey clubs) in our case are at this time’ Skillern explained.
For the metropolitan hockey community, we ask you to also take the time to look after yourself and your close family and friends during this time.
The interest from our community to put their club jumper on and play some ‘real hockey’ against other clubs is really strong and we will work with all stakeholders to ensure we can provide this experience later in the year.
HV, as we did during the last lockdown, will engage with administrators, players and coaches with regards to an 8-week summer competition from mid-October 2020.
This consultation process including a range of innovative competition ideas will be tabled with our stakeholders in early August, once everyone has had some time to re-energise.
The calls and emails of support over the past 24-48 hours for HV to administer a club competition in summer has been really encouraging.
‘We want to offer competition to the close to 800 teams across Melbourne who rallied behind the revised competition season and give them the choice to engage in hockey later in 2020’, Skillern said.
With much uncertainty to hockey activities for the remainder of 2020 HV will continue to manage a significantly reduced administration during the coming months and seek further government support to ensure the organization has the appropriate resources restart the sport when we can.
We have asked our clubs and participants to remain patient as we navigate this uncertain and challenging time for HV. We would also ask participants to be patient with your clubs over the coming months as they to take the time to understand the actual costs incurred through training, club services and other committed costs as all 60 Affiliates planned to field teams in the revised competition.
Regardless of where you live, right now, our priority is everyone’s health. Wash your hands. If you feel unwell, stay home. Even if you have the mildest of symptoms, get tested. Physically distance yourself from others, where possible. And – most importantly – please look after each other so we can together put ourselves in the best position to resume hockey later in 2020.