Full season Irish Hockey League to be debated at pair of forums

Leinster and Irish hockey will host a couple of forums in the next week that could have a huge effect on the sport’s landscape as the IHA puts forward a proposal for a “full” Irish Hockey League.

To this end, the Leinster Hockey Association will host its annual forum on Thursday, February 20 at 6.45pm in the Stillorgan Park Hotel with this one of three key items on the agenda before Avoca and Monkstown have their appeals for pitch funding heard at an EGM.

Lisnagarvey's Jason Lynch gave his opinions on a full Irish Hockey League to Southern Fried Hockey

Lisnagarvey’s Jason Lynch gave his opinions on a full Irish Hockey League to Southern Fried Hockey

The meeting will open with a presentation on “Development and Retention” before there will be a discussion on the Irish Hockey League and its potential impact on the Leinster leagues. The third subject is proposed changes on registration before an open forum will take place.

It comes six days before the Irish Hockey Association host a Leinster-based forum of their own on Wednesday, February 26 in Belfield with a view to gathering feedback from clubs and players while sharing findings to date and discussing the proposal of the full IHL.

In recent months, the IHL Working Group has reviewed the current setup of Irish club hockey’s marquee competition with a view to whether to move a full season competition. Opinions on this have been tentatively sought via the branches in the past few months and, following those submissions, this forum will be open for stakeholders in Irish hockey to discuss “to come along to both share their opinion and also to listen to the opinion of others. It’s a consultation and an opportunity to influence the final view”.

The full details of such a venture can be found here but the basic outline is a 12-team, 22-game, 16-week competition, which would take the dozen best sides in the country out of their provincial leagues.

Southern Fried Hockey canvassed a number of players and club members from the likes of Cork C of I, Lisnagarvey, UCD, Cork Harlequins, YMCA and Corinthian that show the disparity of opinion that currently exist toward the idea.

From the IHA’s Leinster presentation pack, the key points of the proposal are as follows:

– Full IHL provides a more (season long) competitive programme for top Irish Club hockey
– Allows opportunity to realign/rebalance Provincial leagues
– Provides opportunity to create a clear pathway to IHL from Provincial Leagues – “Regional IHL Play-Offs”
– Decongests the annual IHA and Provincial Calendar as fewer weekends
– The issue of costs /time/travel recognised but with appropriate scheduling can be mitigated

LHA Forum agenda, Stillorgan Park Hotel, February 20, 6.45pm
i) 6.50pm Presentation on Development and Retention
ii) 7.10pm IHL and the impact on the Leinster Leagues
iii) 7.30pm Proposed changes on Registration
iv) 7.50pm Open Forum

Special General Meeting
i) 8.15pm – 8.55pm – discussion, presentation and vote on Motion 1: “That this SGM approve the loan application in the Name of Avoca HC of €80,000 repayable in annual instalments commencing in 2015 , subject to (a) Government Sports Capitol Grant, (b) security as required by the LHA , and (c) terms and conditions as approved by the LHA Board.”
ii) 9.05pm – 9.40pm – discussion, presentation and vote on Motion 2: “That this SGM approve the loan application in the Name of Monkstown HC of €75,000 repayable in annual instalments commencing in 2015 , subject to (a) Government Sports Capitol Grant, (b) security as required by the LHA , and (c) terms and conditions as approved by the LHA Board.”

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