Light at the end of the tunnel for Gympie hockey

HOCKEY: COVID-19 has halted the 2020 season but Gympie hockey players hope they can be back on the field next month.

The next stage of easing restrictions is June 12 with 20 people able to gather while social distancing.

This means hockey players could return to training, and the season is expected to start on July 10.

Gympie Hockey regional coaching director Ben Fitzpatrick all smiles as players could return to training on June 12.
Gympie Hockey regional coaching director Ben Fitzpatrick all smiles as players could return to training on June 12.

Gympie Hockey regional coaching director Ben Fitzpatrick said the club was lucky to be in this position and there would be a lot to organise in the next month.

“We are pretty lucky that we own our own facility and we had quite a few membership fees paid before it all stopped. That has helped us get through and we are hoping we can get a season still played and those people will get their money’s worth,” Fitzpatrick said.

“It is a struggle because you still have to pay rates and electricity but we have been doing a few things like the Play For Purpose which is a sports charity fundraising raffle and we are looking at other ways. We are not going to go under that is for sure.

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“Hockey Queensland have put out a pathway to restart hockey. We have to tick a lot of boxes and get things put in place so people are safe”.

Fitzpatrick said there would be procedures in place before June 12.

“There will be cleaning procedures and maybe a sign-in register booking system. When the games start it will still be 100 people so it will probably be a drive in, play and then home again. But nothing is set in stone,” he said.

“Training in June will be staggered so we do not have more than 20 people and the parents might have to just pick up and drop off.

Gympie Hockey regional coaching director Ben Fitzpatrick said there would be plans in place to ensure everyone’s safety before the June 12 return.
Gympie Hockey regional coaching director Ben Fitzpatrick said there would be plans in place to ensure everyone’s safety before the June 12 return.

“We are looking at doing a members’ survey and a Zoom meeting to get their thoughts.

“We are hoping to get a full season in but that will depend on the members. If we start in the July, which is the aim, we could get a full season in, we play the whole way to November. It is not traditional hockey season, we usually finish in September.

“In the non-hockey months we might look at moving the games to midweek rather than the weekend. Instead of training we might play games.

“There is that option and the other is get as many games as possible from July to September. Maybe with a shortened season with a few catch-up midweek games.

“You can finally see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel which is exciting and the feedback I have received is the children just want to get back out there”.