The Competitions Committee met on Monday 08th February 2021 and, in line with the decision taken by Hockey Ireland in regard to EYHL, recommended that all Ulster Hockey Leagues be abandoned for the 2020/21 season. The Committee further recommended that the same league structures are retained for the 2021/22 season. These recommendations were accepted by the Management Board on 16th February 2021.
While it is unfortunate that this decision has been made, Ulster Hockey is still committed to providing competitive opportunities to our clubs at all levels should restrictions be relaxed sufficiently to allow this. The Committee has worked to develop potential competition formats which could be implemented dependent on the time available in which to schedule these.
Ulster Hockey will be consulting with clubs in the coming days to determine a number of factors regards availability of teams and facilities and the appetite to lengthen the season beyond its traditional end of Easter.
The Joint Schools Committee Chair, along with the Executive Manager and Domestic Hockey Officer met with representatives of the schools committees on Wednesday 10th February to discuss the viability of the schools cup competitions for the 2020/21 season.
It was recommended that all schools knock out competitions be cancelled for the 2020/21 season. The Ulster Hockey Management Board accepted this recommendation at the Board meeting on 16th February 2021 and therefore all schools knock out competitions have been cancelled for this season.
The Domestic Hockey Officer will be consulting with all schools – at Management and Principal level – to gauge the appetite for and viability of an alternative schools event should restrictions post-Easter allow
Whilst it is disappointing to have made these decisions, it is felt that there is no alternative – particularly following the Executive announcement that the restrictions will remain in place until 1 April 2021. Ulster Hockey is continuing to engage with the relevant organisations to promote a safe return to sport, mindful of the mental and physical benefits to all of our members.
We look forward to hearing from our clubs and schools regards potential competition after Easter and to hopefully returning to the pitch in the near future.