Hockey Ireland has declared the EY Hockey League “null and void” among the many tough decisions to be made due to competition’s cessation due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
All action was called to a halt on March 12th with the governing body convening a working group two weeks later to decide the next course of action after the season was deemed “finished”.
With no action likely for at least a few months, the top tier and the EYHL Division 2 were both knocked on the head with the EY Champions Trophy also cancelled.
While there were calls to give more time to see how the situation panned out, Thursday’s statement said “there are too many games left to play to determine a fair final ranking by mathematical or other method”.
As such, the EY Champions Trophy will not be played while the statement added that there will be no automatic promotion or relegation between EYHL1 and 2.
However, the make-up of the two divisions could yet be adjusted with the Hockey Ireland board asking the competitions group to “consider options of increasing the number of teams in the EYHL league(s) for the 20/21 season”.
To this end, the board have already received the proposal to run a “full-season” EYHL2 and are looking into its viability.
Also to be determined at later date are the European places on offer with Hockey Ireland waiting to see exactly how the European Hockey Federation decides to organise their events. Most of the European club events scheduled for April and May have been cancelled with the Euro Hockey League currently placed “on hold”.
There is some hope, though, that some of the 2019/20 national competitions can be completed with the Irish Senior Cup, Trophy and Challenge semi-finals and finals “postponed”. Hockey Ireland will look for an opportunity to play them early in the 2020/21 season if time allows.
The same goes for the provincial branch cup competitions which have reached the semi-final or final stages. As for the provincial leagues, the statement says “a percentage equalisation method” will be used to complete league standings.
It does, however, remain at the discretion of each province to make decisions regarding relegation and promotion and “the Branch competition rules apply”.
The remainder of competitions are deemed as “cancelled”, namely:
- Kate Russell All Ireland Schoolgirls Championships
- John Waring All Ireland Schoolboys Championship
- June Smith Competition
- National U15 Girls
- National U15 Boys
- Junior Interprovincials
- U13 Championships
“Hockey Ireland would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding during this time and appreciates the efforts many of you are going to in order to continue training while at home.”