21 March, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every aspect of our lives, and sport is no exception. The spread of the virus from China to Europe has been followed step by step by a gradual interruption in the world of sport, including our beloved hockey.
The first games affected were the Pro League ones between China and Belgium, scheduled for early February. Since then, the Pro League has been suspended until April 15th.
Leagues across Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland, France, Belgium, Argentina and the UK have all been suspended for the next month, with the last games played on March 15th in England.
The EHL has also announced the suspension of the Final 8 event and of the inaugural EHL women, scheduled to take place in Amsterdam over Easter.
With most clubs closing down and many national teams interrupting their training programs, many hockey players have taken their tricks into their homes, uploading training or skills videos on social media.
Keeping in physical shape is probably the easiest aspect for hockey players, with lots of people going for solo runs or gym sessions where this is possible, or home workouts where more COVID-19 cases have been reported.
Those lucky enough to have access to turfs can keep working on their skills, but for most players this is a good opportunity to work on the mental and tactical aspects of their games, with psychology and video analysis sessions.
The Olympics are still scheduled for the end of July, but most national leagues will still aim to play their remaining fixtures. In countries like the UK where there are a few games left this will be relatively easy, but other countries will have to explore other options to avoid an uncomfortable clash with national team fixtures.
Some of the possible options include:
-Finishing the season as is
-Extending the season into next year
-Cancelling the season
-Going straight to end of season playoffs and playouts
Whatever the outcome, this is unchartered territory and 2020 will definitely be a memorable year!
Written by Giulio Ferrini