The 2021 Ipswich Hockey season is scheduled to start on March 12, after an open day on February 7. Picture: Darren J McCabe Photography
The 2021 Ipswich Hockey season is scheduled to start on March 12, after an open day on February 7. Picture: Darren J McCabe Photography

Ipswich Hockey's 'more normal' season: See vital information

BEFORE a hoped for "more normal'' Ipswich hockey competition starts on March 12, a number of key events and selection trials are planned.

That includes an Open Day on Sunday, February 7, at the Ipswich Hockey Complex at Raceview.

The annual event from 3-5pm is an ideal opportunity for newcomers to try the sport on the turf field and for clubs to provide information for new and existing players to sign on.

"It's mostly for the juniors, especially the new ones,'' Ipswich Hockey Association president Robert McLeod said.

However, he said anyone interested in playing hockey this year would be made welcome, shown the fields, introduced to club officials and offered a chance to have a hit to help them make a decision.

"It's very family orientated hockey, and just let them get a feel of the facilities and how we run, how we play, all those sort of things,'' McLeod said.

The Ipswich Hockey Association AGM is scheduled for the next day (February 8) at 7pm.

McLeod confirmed he was available for a fourth year as president if elected.

He is keen to continue his role after recovering from a foot operation over the Christmas break.

"I'm going to run again and see what happens,'' McLeod said.

As club officials finalise their coaching appointments and teams, the hope is this year's competition returns to a more familiar format after major changes last year due to COVID-safe requirements.

"We're planning on sticking to our COVID plan,'' said McLeod, who is in regular contact with Hockey Queensland and the Queensland Government about procedures.

"So far we going to plan on a full season.''

Decisions on the opening of the clubhouse and spectator seating are still to be decided.

However, McLeod was confident lessons and protocols from last year's 10 week competition and successful finals weekends would provide a framework for any forced changes this year.

Hookin2Hockey is also scheduled to start on  March 13, the same weekend play across the grades resumes.

Ipswich Hockey president Robert McLeod (left) with long-serving treasurer Paul Mantell.
Ipswich Hockey president Robert McLeod (left) with long-serving treasurer Paul Mantell.

Ipswich Hockey regional coaching director Hugh Hocking and last year's COVID co-ordinator June Nicholls are working on specific requirements to keep players, officials and spectators safe.

For pre-season training, players are still signing in with the QR code and ensuring sanitising and distancing when off the field.

"It's very important that we know who is there, how we can contact them,'' McLeod said.

"We hope to get through our full season.

"We've been very lucky in Queensland but we enforce the rules very strictly, like a lot of other clubs and associations do.''

The Combined Competition with Toowoomba is expected to be reinstated in May after being cancelled last year.

A number of players selected in Queensland under-15 and under-18 squads have been preparing for trials with Hocking and former regional coaching director Neil Shearer.

Those trials are planned over the next two weekends at the State Hockey Centre in Brisbane.

Ipswich is hosting the Hockey Queensland under-16 Southern Development Camp from February 26-28.

This year's selection panel for Ipswich representative teams includes Hocking, long-serving official Paul Mantell and experienced coach Steve Profke.

Ipswich teams will be finalised for a number of regional and state championships throughout the year.

That includes the Hockey Queensland Open Championships for men and women are set down for the Labour Day weekend (May 1-3) at the State Hockey Centre.

The Queensland Men's Masters State Championships follow at the Gold Coast from April 30-May 3.

Ipswich is hosting the Under-13 Southern Cross championships on May 23.

Senior Ipswich competition grand finals are planned for September 10/11 after the junior finals and Gala Awards night the weekend of September 3-5.



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