After mastering Tier 3 hockey in December we know that there will be much disappointed following today's Government announcement that Greater Manchester is moving to Tier 4 Covid Restrictions from 00.01 on 31st December 2020. Its not the news we wanted but we will bounce back and find a ay to play if and when we can - as we've done since May 2020!
The Tier 4 headlines for hockey at Timperley are:
- No adult hockey (training or games)
- Under 18 exemption to train and play 'local' games
- no travel in or out of Tier 4
- exemption for paid coaches to travel for Under 18 activity - guidance on volunteers travel for Under 18 activity awaited
The immediate impact - combined with the current frozen pitches and forecast for the next few days - is that the Club will be closed and we have postponed all matches in our NY Challenge v Bowdon on 2nd and 3rd January. The good news is both clubs are keen to reschedule later in 2021 and make this new event happen in memory of Pat Marston. There is also no Academy training this Sunday 3rd January.
Tier 4 is effectively a ‘stay at home’ requirement with only certain activities allowed, for adults it pretty much means no hockey, whilst for Under 18's hockey can continue with restrictions. But lets keep positive as we will bounce back.
Here's a summary of the THC response and information shared by England Hockey early in December on Tier 4:
Q. What does Tier 4 mean for adult hockey ?
No more matches or senior training sessions for adults (18+) now that we are in Tier 4.
We will be monitoring the latest updates from our various leagues once there is a clearly view on when play may restart and reorganising games (again!). Leagues have already planned extended seasons so hopefully there will be plenty of hockey to come. We will also review interest in continuing to hold 'zoom' training sessions and or challenges to keep senior players connected and active !
The only adult hockey activity permitted in Tier 4 is one-to-one or household / support bubble activity. Adults should adhere to Step 1 of the EH Return to Play Roadmap in Tier 4 Areas (This is what we did in May - June). At this stage THC will be reviewing if we offer this option or not as we will need to review a range of factors and how it would work.
Q: What does Tier 4 mean for under 18 hockey ?
A: Under 18's have an exemption and this means Under 18 activity can continue. Any activity should be done as locally as possible. Junior activity should be delivered in line with Step 4 of the EH Return to Play Roadmap.
Academy coaching will be able to continue, subject to us having enough coaches available, and weather permitting we plan to restart on Tuesday 5th January (London Groups) and Sunday 10th January for all other groups. We will also review the feasibility of an additional session for older Academy /Under 18 players on a Tuesday.
Whilst there is an exemption for juniors to play, England Hockey (and THC) recognises that the volunteers and coaches that make hockey happen have to feel comfortable continuing to provide activity. England Hockey fully supports clubs making decisions on a case-by-case basis about whether to continue in the short term.
The exemption for junior (under 18s) activity means that matches can still be played. However, England Hockey recommend that matches do not take place unless both teams agree, and the match can only be held between very local teams following the guidance around travel restrictions. The restrictions in Tier 4 are such that EH do not recommend fixtures taking place between clubs. The only scenario in which fixtures could take place is if the clubs and all participants are extremely local; ie within the village, town or part of a city where you live.
THC needs to review with other local clubs how we will apply this guidance for matches. Badger and Beaver matches and GMJHL will need to be reviewed and alternative games will be set up where possible.
Travel - Can we still travel to play hockey as a result of the new Tier 4 restrictions?
Yes. However, there are some restrictions in place (no car sharing) and do not travel into or out of a Tier 4 area.
You should only travel within your household group or support bubble and follow the government safer travel guidance here.
Q: Are there any exemptions for deliverers of hockey?
A: Travel for work is allowed for paid coaches. EH are seeking clarity on whether volunteers and coaches have an exemption to deliver activity that is also exempt e.g. under 18 activity or disability sport. Awaiting EH update.
Q: Can EH Championships fixtures be played?
A: Adult and Masters Championships are not permitted in Tier 4. EH recommend no Junior Championships matches are played at this stage. Junior Championships fixtures are set to resume in late January. England Hockey will communicate with all participants following future reviews by Government and an assessment of the situation and impact on competitions by the EH Competitions Department.
Q: How does Tier 4 impact our clubhouses & hospitality?
A: Clubhouses and hospitality venues must close in Tier 4, with the exception of providing food and drink for; takeaway, click & collect, or delivery. TSC will be confirming arrangements for the Club next week. As household mixing is not allowed in Tier 4, players should expect to come for hockey activity only (no socialising pre / post match / session!)
Q: Are spectators still permitted in Tier 4?
A: Spectators are permitted but must adhere to legal gathering limits and follow social distancing guidelines. In Tier 4 this means you should only spectate alongside others from your household / support bubble or one other individual whilst socially distanced.
England Hockey EH FAQ's
Whilst this is not the news anyone wanted it is again important to just take a step back and remember the reasons the restrictions are needed. Lets hope with the vaccine roll out and more measures to contain the Covid-19 virus that we will be able to return to a more 'normal' hockey life in by the Spring / Summer.
We understand the frustrations and the important role hockey and being part of our #hockeyfamily has played in helping so many players and families bring a semblance of 'normal' and at times sanity to the last 9 months. Lets follow the rules, help fight the spread of the virus and get as many people back on the pitches as soon as possible !
EH Clubs Covid Support Information