HUNKER DOWN: Options for an Ipswich hockey restart have been considered. Picture: Rob Williams
HUNKER DOWN: Options for an Ipswich hockey restart have been considered. Picture: Rob Williams

Daring sport plans for the unknown

HOCKEY in Ipswich could be restarted in a week under some daring formats if cleared to do so in coming months.

However, the sad reality it is looking increasingly unlikely with every week that passes.

Ipswich Hockey Association officials, including president Robert McLeod, have been actively communicating plans to complete the 2020 season at Raceview if possible.

While that may seem a long way off at the moment, Mc-Leod said it was important to be well prepared.

"Once we actually know things are starting to get better and governments relax restrictions, we could probably start with a week's notice,'' McLeod said.

"Everything is in place.

"It's just a matter of probably giving clubs a week's notice to get all their players back and things like that.''

Solutions considered by Ipswich officials include doubleheaders and midweek or extra night games.

While preferring not to extend the season because of the heat, McLeod said additional evening matches could be one way to get play going if the restart pushes into summer.

"There's a lot of scenarios we can do,'' McLeod said.

"We could probably get away with the juniors early in the morning and say stop at 1pm.

"Then continue say about five o'clock in the afternoon and probably go until about 10 o'clock at night.

"There's a lot of options.''

Hockey Australia has confirmed all national championships, including masters competition, have been cancelled this year.

McLeod said Ipswich hockey had been suspended, not cancelled at this stage, after one round was completed before the coronavirus shutdown.

"It's a big wait and see,'' McLeod said.

During the latest Ipswich Hockey Association executive committee phone hook-up, a number of dates were presented as possible restart options.

However, McLeod conceded precious time was running out.

"All the indications are we won't be restarting. We're hopeful we are,'' he said.

"Nothing seems to be good.

"At this stage we are starting to plan for 2021.''

He said the Ipswich Hockey Complex remained closed awaiting further advice from government and national sporting officials.

Hockey Australia officials have supported valuable associations like Ipswich working towards playing at some stage this year.

After just the one round of Ipswich hockey was completed, gallant efforts were offered to protect the players, officials and their families.

The association was prepared to close the canteen and dressing sheds, having teams arrive, warm up, play and return home.

He said the clubs had a high level of willingness to play on under limited conditions before the coronavirus situation became too serious.

"We had quite a few different scenarios but in the end common sense got the better call,'' he said.

The Australian Masters Hockey Championships were scheduled in June and July before being postponed and consequently cancelled.

The 35+ and 40+ men's competition planned for October joined the list of cancelled events, along with the Masters Indoor Challenge.

So the main hope reverts back to getting some hockey through associations like Ipswich.

"It is Hockey Australia and the Member Associations' ambition to ensure members get hockey sticks in their hands at the soonest possible time as community hockey is the lifeblood of the sport in this country,'' it was highlighted in a statement from the national body.

"HA and the MAs reinforce the intention and importance to get local competitions up and running, but obviously only if and once clearance and assurances have been announced by the government and relevant health authorities.''