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HACT decision to begin season on 28 March

Hi Devils, Now you have had some time to digest the Hockey ACT Facebook and email information about commencing the season as planned, I would like to provide you the UCHC Board perspective. There is rightfully much for each individual to consider, and based on these decisions we the Board will consider how we proceed as a club. The following is unapologetically long but hopefully it will address your questions and allow you to make your decision on your immediate hockey plans. The meeting and decision to proceed The process and level of discussion at the meeting I attended with HACT and other Club Presidents to discuss commencing, delaying, or abandoning the season was surprisingly collaborative; the overall intention of those involved was to balance player safety with sustaining the viability of hockey in Canberra not just for this season but into the future. The meeting commenced with clubs voting to either commence or delay the season. I voted to delay due to a lack of information on how HACT had arrived at an acceptable level of player safety risk when other hockey associations and other sports had not, and how a season surrounded by so much uncertainty would run in terms of our club remaining financially viable. The overwhelming majority vote at commencement of the meeting was to delay the season. Federal and Territory Government Information on COVID-19 was provided, included in this were Community Sport Guidelines - I believe this information has since been sent to all players by HACT. The overall message was that community sport could continue at this time by applying these guidelines. HACT also provided an association specific approach to implementing the guidelines - which I also believe has been sent to all players. With the understanding that HACT are acting on credible and timely information regarding how hockey can be played at this time, the meeting moved to the logistics and financial implications of running a potentially disrupted season. The main concern for Presidents was that they were not in a position to truly represent the position of their clubs as there was not enough information; key concerns were the likelihood of less players impacting the number and quality of teams currently submitted, the cost of forfeits and withdrawing teams, and the ability to move players around throughout the season to cover gaps. The response from HACT was that relaxing rules, being flexible and waiving fines for this season would be the approach taken - as long as clubs were not seen to be taking advantage of the situation. Four alternate start dates for the season were presented but what date would be best quickly became irrelevant as it was agreed that delaying the start would just result in the same discussion that was being held. Regardless of the start date clubs needed to work out their new numbers and see what they meant for team nominations. The outcome of the meeting was the season would commence as planned but it was accepted that all clubs needed to establish who was playing, how that would impact on teams, and then resubmit nominations - yes I did a 180 turn, but I am confident that this is the best decision. It was also accepted that should the situation change then the latest information would be used to make a new decision and in reality there could still be an alternate start date or the season may be cancelled all together. Moving forward, the UCHC Board is determined to ensure that:

If authoritative advice is that - by applying appropriate controls - hockey can be played, and there are games scheduled, then those who what want to play can play (some may note that the ACT Masters competition recently cancelled their final round of the Summer season, but gave clubs the option of playing their games anyway. We believe it would not be responsible to field our side in a non-association endorsed game).If people are not comfortable in playing then they are supported in their decision and welcomed back with open arms when things have changed (regardless of time period).UCHC remains financially viable and survives in these constrained times.


What we need from you now The factors that will contribute to the decision to play or not play this year will be different for everyone. Concerns relating to health (yours, your families, your friends), financial (current and potential future) or moral implications are just as valid for one person as they are for another. The Board want to ensure that as a Community we are supportive of everyone. Currently we have at least one Board member who has decided the best option for them is not to play, they will continue in their management role within the club and be welcomed back onto the field when they are ready to play. We will be a making decision on teams next week and need accurate information, as you will see below this is vitally important to our future so the time has come for everyone to make a decision:

If you have registered and are no longer intending on playing you need to let us know by email by the end of this weekend (Sunday 22 Mar 20).If you have not registered and intend on playing then you need to register, and pay the Hockey Australia levy and at least $100 towards seasons fees (as per the Fee Schedule).If you have registered and intend on playing there is nothing you need to do.

How will UCHC move forward If you have paid fees and are not intending on playing there are two options. We will refund your fees except for the HA component (that goes directly to HA to cover a 12 month playing period, I can only apologise about that part as it is out of the Board’s control) if that is your preference. Alternatively, we can also hold your fees over until you are ready to return. If you have paid fees and the season doesn’t go ahead or is disrupted we will deal with that when it happens. The assurance I can give you is that we are invoiced at mid and end of season by HACT and - in the spirit of the season - it was agreed with HACT that these invoices would be reflective of the actual hockey that ends up being played. We are not alone in the reality that COVID-19 has dried up our revenue - there is no Groovin’ the Moo, and there are no Bunnings BBQs (the Container Deposit Scheme is still running though - Tam made me include this!). The impact is that we need to carefully consider our financial position as we have been able to keep fees as low are possible based on predicted fundraising revenue. To be absolutely clear, we have no intention of raising fees this season. In the past we have based team numbers on 13 players and covered the costs of the three ‘missing’ players through fundraising - this will now stop and we will be basing the number of teams we nominate on having the maximum number of fee paying players per team. Additionally we have booked turf for training based on the number of nominated teams, will be paying closer attention to the actual number of players turning up and consider if we are getting value for money. Your Board is here to represent you and guide the club through this challenge. Hockey is important to all of us and we will endure as a Community - even if you decide that sitting out some or part of the season is the right decision for you I hope you stay connected. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and if you have any questions please contact me. Yeeelllllloooowwwww! Jimmy UCHC President



Read Hockey ACT's communication regarding the start of season here.

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