Covid-19 : Juniors – Academy Centre Update

22/04/2020 8:43

I wanted to give you all those involved in the Junior County Activity update on where we currently stand with the Kent Academy and Development Centres for this year.

As you are aware these are difficult and uncertain times. Clearly everyone is very disappointed with the situation, but we keep the perspective of the bigger issues and concerns at stake and I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those key workers who are working hard to keep everyone safe – especially those engaged in hospitals.

When might things restart and when will we know?
To be completely candid – we are not sure. Our governing body England Hockey have stopped all Hockey activity until the end of June. They have a number of management meetings that they need to complete, but these will be subject to Government advice and direction. Given that the unwinding of the lockdown is very unclear it is simply impossible to give any certainty as to what is likely to happen.

So what does this mean for the AC Competition?
The competition is organised by the South, and they are also unsure of how this will play out. It is highly unlikely that we will not be able to complete the competition as it stands. I am also very aware that some players have not had the opportunity to represent the county yet and I am very disappointed for those players and I have asked the South for a contingency. We have discussed the possibility of one or two local tournament weekends in July or August – but this is hugely dependent on so many factors – not least availability of pitches, players and coaches along with next season’s pre-season cycle.

If we can’t complete the full AC cycle we will be working on options around refunding some portion of your AC payment money (refunding the money, putting it towards next season or donating it to the county for coach and player development). In the meantime please understand that as we are trying hard to give the children every opportunity to play for the county and this would impact any refunds.

What does this mean for the Development Centres?
For DCs these may have to start later, in fact the whole cycle may be pushed back due to the way that EH works – from the National sides, to the Performance Centres and then down to the Academy Centres and finally Development Centres and Clubs.

As soon as I have any more concrete information I will let you know. In the meantime please keep safe and I look forward to seeing you all over the course of next year,

Tom Hamilton
Kent Hockey Association – Vice President for Junior Hockey