Following ongoing discussions between Hockey New Zealand and its 32 member associations, a joint and unanimous decision has been made to cancel all National Tournaments for the 2020 hockey season.
Hockey New Zealand CEO Ian Francis said that while all involved were deeply saddened to lose an entire National Tournament season, the decision has been made in the best interests of community hockey. “Our associations strongly believe that when hockey is able to be resumed this year, we need to get as many people as possible back on the turf and competing against one another. Their focus needs to be on enabling people to participate in their local programmes and competitions, and Hockey New Zealand fully supports this position.”
Mr Francis expressed Hockey New Zealand’s appreciation for the outstanding leadership taken by the member associations in coming to such a difficult but necessary decision.
“We all recognise the importance and value of our national tournaments and know that many people will be very disappointed with this decision. However, this year we need to prioritise making hockey accessible for players, coaches and umpires in our local communities for as much of the year as possible. This will help rebuild the well-being of our people within hockey and the broader sporting community”.
“While there will be no National Tournaments in 2020, depending on how the season evolves Associations may be in a position to work together to create regional events”.
Mr Francis said that while no decision had yet been made about the 2020 Secondary Schools Sports tournaments, Hockey New Zealand was currently in discussions with School Sports New Zealand, and would provide an update when more information is available.
Community hockey is due to restart on Saturday 2 May. Hockey New Zealand and the member associations are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will update the hockey community if there is any change to this plan.
Mr Francis said Hockey New Zealand is now planning for an exciting 2021 representative season which will see the Vantage National U18 Tournament, the inaugural Ford National Hockey Championships and the National Masters Tournaments return as well as season three of the FIH Pro League and the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
“The Vantage Black Sticks’ international programme is also currently on hold, with the suspension of FIH Pro League until May 15th and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics until 2021. We will continue to update fans as more information comes to hand.”
As had been previously announced in consultation with UTSNZ and Hockey New Zealand, the National Tertiary Hockey Championships that were due to be held from the 6th – 8th of May are being postponed to a later date TBC.