The recent government announcements and clarifications from Sport New Zealand have allowed Hockey New Zealand to undertake further planning around our return to community hockey.
We understand the desire for getting back on the turf and rest assured we are working hard to ensure this can happen however it needs to occur in a managed way that prioritises the safety of our community. We do not want hockey to be the reason we go backwards on alert levels.
The return to hockey will take a three-phase approach, the three phases are ‘Get Ready to Train’, ‘Prepare to Play’ and ‘Return to Play’.
Get Ready to Train – Systems & Process Development
This is the time for hockey to prepare and ensure all the governmental health and safety measures and contact tracing protocols are in place prior to the opening of any facilities. This will take time and ensuring that our facilities are safe for training is a priority. This phase came into effect on the 12th of May.
Prepare to Play – Training
Associations will only be able to move into the Prepare to Play phase once all health and safety and contact tracing measures have been put in place. This will not be earlier than the 14th of May.
This phase is essential for our community as it will allow our participants to get back into the sport without rushing into a competition. During this phase, the needs of our participants are a priority ensuring they have a chance to prepare for competition, therefore, reducing the risk of future injury.
It also allows our Associations an opportunity to implement all necessary procedures for hockey to happen safely. It is unlikely all hockey will commence at the same time across the country. The current rules around the mass gathering restrictions of no more than 10 must be adhered to during this phase.
Associations will provide you with specific guidelines around the training. If there is two groups of 10 training on different halves of the turf it is essential that the groups don’t come within two meters of each other.
Return to Play – Competition
When government restrictions allow this phase will see the return of competitive hockey which is currently unknown.
Competitive hockey is likely to start at different times across the country depending on complexity and preparedness. Additionally, different forms of hockey i.e. Senior and Junior hockey may have staggered starts to ensure a smooth and quality experience is provided. Having a graduated return to play will be important to minimize the risk of injury i.e. no doubleheader weekends early in the return to play time period.
We understand that not all hockey facilities are administered by your Association. If people are able to adhere to the government restrictions around less than 10 people gatherings as well as health and safety and contact tracing measures, then it is up to the owner of these facilities to decide if trainings following the protocols can occur.
We will continue to provide the most up to date information possible through the Covid-19 tab on the Hockey New Zealand Website.
We thank you for your patience during this time and look forward to returning to the turf soon.