25 March 2021 – England hockey latest – Hockey’s first steps back for summer of fun!

As the government roadmap out of lockdown progresses and the official guidance for grassroots sport is now available, we can now confirm more details of the Return to Play plans for hockey.

England Hockey’s full guidance has been simplified where possible and should be used by Covid Officers and key role holders at clubs and organisations alongside the wider supporting guides for specific roles in hockey as well as the supporting infographics and FAQs. This is all available on the Covid Support page of our website, which will be regularly updated.

The good news is that hockey can return from 29 March straight to the ‘Play – Step 4’ phase of our original Covid-19 roadmap. This allows local hockey to take place including activities like summer leagues or local matches.

We recognise that not all players will be ready to return straight away and we encourage all providers to ensure that their processes, communication and behaviours all contribute to creating places that all players can be comfortable participating within. Further to the briefings held last week England Hockey encourages the focus to be on safe, fun and friendly activity initially to support welcoming people back.

As the roadmap progresses over the coming weeks, restrictions are expected to lift, and the extent of activity clubs can offer will extend. These are mostly related to issues outside of play such as hospitality and changing rooms. As of the 25 March we are still waiting for the government safer travel advice to be updated that will inform on travel issues such as car sharing.

The updated government advice means it is now possible to undertake the following activity. England Hockey expects that all involved in any activity will follow the guidance.

Outdoor hockey can resume from 29 March:

  • Training can start once organisers ensure all guidance is in place.
  • England Hockey recommends a maximum of 30 people in any one group, but more than one group can use a pitch as long as social distancing can be maintained outside of play and between the groups.
  • Matches (both 11-a-side and small sided) can resume once organisers can ensure all guidance is in place. Multiple matches can take place at the same venue as long as social distancing can be maintained between groups outside of matches.

Next steps of the government roadmap

The below table outlines the government roadmap as a guide for coming months. This is indicative of when we expect guidance may be updated to support further changes, but the dates are not confirmed at this stage. As and when further changes to guidance are required, England Hockey will update and reissue our guidance.

Gov Step 1b
(from 29 March)
Gov Step 2

(no earlier than 12 April)

Gov Step 3
(no earlier than 17 May)
Gov Step 4
(no earlier than 21 June)
Indoor hockey Flyerz permitted Junior (U18) permitted Adult permitted
Changing rooms Should not be used with the exception of use by disabled participants, for safeguarding purposes or for serious injury requiring emergency treatment Changing room use to be reviewed
Spectators Are not permitted with the exception of safeguarding purposes (one parent, guardian or carer per child (under 18) or disabled participant) Spectator permissions to be reviewed
Hospitality May provide takeaway services only Permitted outdoors Permitted indoors
Travel Travel for sport is permitted. Awaiting government travel advice on car sharing
Clubhouse Should remain closed to the public, but toilets permitted to be open from 30 minutes before activity, until 30 minutes after activity Clubhouse use to be reviewed

England Hockey will continue to follow government and Public Health England advice. Timings of any changes to the circumstances for hockey will always be led by government advice during the Covid-19 restrictions.

Whilst these are now significant steps forward in terms of returning to play, we would encourage everyone to firstly consider the health of themselves and others as they return to play.

If you have any issues or questions regarding the guidance please read our FAQs or contact clubs@englandhockey.co.uk.

Obituary: Harry Thomas

Its with great saddest that we have to announce the passing of Harry Thomas on February 17, 2021, aged 59 years.

Harry was a regular for the club throughout the 80’s and 90’s playing as a defender, along with brother Howard and nephews Nigel and Gary, he was a stalwart of the club.

Harry took on the second team captaincy for many years and encouraged and led many of our current senior players through their development.

Very much liked and appreciated by all who played with him Harry was known for his ‘never give up’ attitude.

Craig Hockenhull

Whitchurch Hockey club

Harry Thomas (top row, second from right)

Open to all ages: Shropshire Seniors and U21 Men’s Hockey

It is planned to run ‘The Shropshire Super League’ on Friday 9th & 16th April  2021 from 6pm until 9pm @ Wrekin College. This will be an opportunity for Hockey players from Shropshire who want to be considered for future places in the senior & u21 squads.

It is planned that squads will be created, aiming to blend experiences and ages to create a competitive intra county tournament and bring some of the best past/present/future Hockey players from Shropshire together to compete against each other. If you are interested please complete this form and register your interest, we will then confirm the details of the format.

Their are plans for a u21 regional competition this summer 🤞

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=XkySU_BWBUSFAHtYpaQY8ujmXODjkuhCjRuW2qxTec9UNDFBUzFVMTQ4MEVOUlpWS0lBUko0QkIyTC4u

Return To Play Latest Update – March 2001

06/03/2021 – England Hockey are very much looking forward to a return for our sport. In line with the Government’s latest roadmap: Step 1 permits organised outdoor sports from 29 March.

The detailed guidance that will come from DCMS will outline what is permitted for outdoor team sports and facilities. It is this information we require in order to create our hockey specific guidelines. This is the content we can share with our participants to support returning with confidence in the knowledge that what you are planning and doing is supported and permitted. 

With all that is going on in Government presently, we do not expect to have sight of all the guidance for at least two more weeks. We recognise that this makes it difficult to plan in detail for clubs and hockey organisers and therefore this update is aimed to give the best steer we can at this stage.

At England Hockey we are very keen that hockey returns but in a way that recognises the gap there has been since we were last able to play. Individuals will have faced different challenges through the last two lockdowns and confidence to return to play will vary amongst players, coaches and volunteers. On this basis we expect hockey to only be held within clubs or locally in the first instance and until at least the 12 April in line with the wider government guidance.

What do players think?

Understanding how players feel about returning to play is critical to ensure a safe and supportive Return to Play, therefore we’ve been getting the views of the hockey community to understand more about attitudes to returning. The early signs from the survey are that there is a strong appetite to return but also a requirement to ensure that individual needs are understood in returning and that undue pressure isn’t put on any players, coaches or volunteers.

You can share your view here: Return to Play survey

From 29 March – Keep it safe, fun, friendly and local

All the indications are that from the 29 March club activity will be able to resume allowing for training, intra club activity and even some extremely local friendly match play where people can travel independently or in household groups. At this time we are not expecting Local Restriction Tiers so we hope that all players that live within reasonable distance of their club will be able to play.

The detailed covid-safe guidelines are not released yet and so any changes to restrictions for clubs are not known. We expect hockey will be able to return at a level similar to Step 4 previously but there may be changes to the detail of the guidance that we will communicate as soon as we can.

We absolutely do not recommend competitive matches in competitions or selection processes to take place in this early period of returning to ensure that things are fair for all involved.

From 12 April at the earliest – Progress if we can

In terms of progressing to more competitive activity then 12 April is likely to be the next possible time that things could change. But given the roadmap laid out by government, we are conscious that things like shared transport (which may be required for competitive hockey outside of local areas and more extensive Player Pathway activity) may be untenable for some time.

In light of this uncertainty, planning for the conclusion of any leagues or other competitions is currently not able to be finalised. We await the guidance.

How we plan to help?

England Hockey will be providing support and advice for clubs over the coming weeks via a range of content that we will make available to activity organisers, we’ll contact Covid Officers and key club officers next week with more information.

Senior, Junior and Academy hockey in North Shropshire