Survey: the balance between provincial and leagues

** In conjunction with the EY Hockey League Working Group, the Hook is running a survey to get feedback on the current structures relating to the national and regional leagues. We will post some of the views expressed on each of the questions in the next few days.

The survey is running until March 22 and can be taken here: http://www.hookhockey.com/index.php/2017/03/survey-ey-hockey-league-working-group-seeking-feedback/#.WMqdtBKLQb0. You can also comment below if you would like to provide more instant feedback!

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Does the current provincial qualification process strike the right balance for the competitiveness within the provincial leagues and promotion/relegation to EYHL?

Club player (outside EYHL)
– No, currently the promotion system is very messy as it’s over two weekends rather than one. Only the top provinicial teams should compete for a place in EYHL.

Munster club player / administrator / umpire
– It probably gets the best teams in there but it poses a risk that the EYHL could eventually only have clubs from one province which I’m guessing is not desirable. The gap between provincial leagues and the EYHL is growing.

Munster club player
– I feel the qualification process is fair, but every year the gap is growing between those teams in the EY and those outside of it, making qualification all the more difficult for all teams.

Munster club player
– No. Currently in LD1, there are three competitive teams. It seems that teams in the top tier of the EY League have the ability to push on and gain players whereas provincial clubs are struggling to retain players thus leaving qualification prospects almost unattainable.

Leinster EYHL player
– Yes, I believe it has the right balance, as anyone who is promoted/relagated deserves to be but the process of being promoted is too drawn out and if possible should be shortened.

Ulster club player
– I think it is a shame that we have lost a Connacht team, as it is now not a truly All Ireland EYHL. It also gives a Munster club the total monopoly on top players in that area. There needs to be a balance on where all the teams come from.

Leinster supporter
– The league could be extended by two more teams to increase the competition and the interest in it.

Leinster club official
I believe the promotion process is extremely tough on teams that qualify for the first round of playoffs, finishing 2nd or 3rd in their Provincial leagues.

It requires each team to play four games, and I do concede that the playing time is reduced, however it is still not athlete centred as a team has to play 4 (must win) games on a weekend is asking a bit much from teams that will no doubt have underage players in their team. The reality is that a team can Win 2 draw 2 and still be over taken by a team they beat if they go on to win 3.

I do believe that the Top team in each province should be rewarded. However not every Province is equal standard and then to give them an unfair advantage in the proceed straight into the playoffs is unfair.

Ulster club player
The Competitiveness of Ulster Senior 1 is not of the desired quality anymore due to the amalgamation with the Senior 2 teams. Unfortunately for the top teams in this league Antrim, South Antrim, Bangor, Cliftonville and Queen’s this means playing varying qualities of teams on different weeks. And can go from playing a good quality to playing a gather up of people. It will constantly favour the relegated team from the premier league as we have seen this year with South Antrim. Or players leaving to play premier or high junior league hockey elsewhere. Although after the split in the league the standard is increased.

EYHL player
One automatic relegation place is more than enough. If it was two it would not give newly promoted teams a chance of staying up. A yoyo effect where teams constantly come up and down is not good. For the league to become stronger it needs stability.

EYHL player
I feel that hockey in Munster has deteriorated greatly. A tier 2 of EYIHL might be an alternative on the original 5 game format would be beneficial to clubs trying to get into the EYHL

Leinster club player
The provincial league structure is fine to an extent, but the variance in quality of opposition does not allow for clubs to prepare effectively for either the qualification process at the end of the season or should they be successful the EYHL. The overall standard has drop drastically after one year of IHL hockey due to player migration, therefore the gap between the provisional league and IHL has grown.
The current promotion route is beyond onerous in the physical and mental effort asked for players and staff for the first weekend and also the financial inputted needed to compete probably in such a weekend.
The cost for our club/players for the 1st weekend last year ran at 2,500 without hotels. Food, physio needs, videographers and the staffing needed for each team to analysis and prepare teams to compete needs to be given more consideration.

Overseas fan
There isn’t a whole lot of information on how promotion and relegation is run. It’s all very confusing, especially when your days are not spent on a pitch in Ireland.

Leinster club official
Its hard to judge how this year’s approach to play-off will work out – the gap is widening between EYHL and Provincial leagues. Loreto ended up in Div 1 was a bit of a travesty – had to wait the season to get into their true ranking position.. taking several players from the other div 1 teams with them

If players keep moving to EYHL clubs – or gravitating towards the team they think will gain promotion, it skews the leagues and lowers the standard across the board.

Also having put in a season within the province, winning the league and not getting automatic promotion, potentially losing out to a team who came 2nd or 3rd in the league does not feel sensible. The EYHL is a league structure … so why is the qualification not from a league structure?

Leinster club player and umpire
Last season’s qualification entry to get into the EYHL was long winded and a joke.. I haven’t seen or heard of what is happening this year as to gain entry into EYHL – why has this not been made public? Surely the clubs/supporters should know at start of year how they can get into the EYHL. Also the standard of provincial hockey I believe is dropping.

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