Hockey club sits season out for first time in 90 years
DESPITE losing 20 teams across six clubs for the 2020 season, Far North Coast Hockey is positive players and fans will enjoy a standout season which kicks off on July 17.
Far North Coast Hockey secretary Clint Mallett said clubs, officials, players and supporters have rallied to get behind the game that quickens their pulses and makes their hearts beat faster.
"It is essential we play the game in some format for the growth and sustainability of the sport, he said.
"Sadly, we are down from 72 to 52 teams this season due to the uncertainty."
"Clubs participating are Easts, Northern Star, Coraki, Alstonville, Summerlands and Ballina, while for the first time in over 90 years Glee will not field a team."
Mallett said the hockey season, like ever other sporting code, had been blindsided by the current pandemic.
"It's had hugely adverse impact on us," he said.
"But we are fielding seven divisions in seniors and five in juniors and players and clubs are enthusiastic about starting again on Friday night and looking forward to contestable tackles."
And there's still time for any player who want in.
"It's not too late ‒ anyone who reads this and decides they want to pick up a stick and play should go online and contact Hockey NSW as soon as possible," he said.
At Coraki Hockey Club, secretary Anne-Maree Cheffins said players were really excited about being able to get into games after months off the field.
Cheffins said their teams include Women's A and B1, Men's C and juniors in the U9s, U13s and U15s divisions.
"We are keen to get back out on the paddock and play," she said.
"Coraki players are committed to being competitive and having a good season."
Ballina Hockey Club president Tony Meldrum said it had taken a bit of juggling to keep teams together and sort out how best to merge squads.
"We have not had the number of players re-register this year so teams had to be redrawn to accommodate this," he said.
"However, it is also giving junior players who are good enough an opportunity to step up and play senior hockey and improve their game.
"This is great because we have some real young talent coming through."