President’s Blog – August
It has been a really busy time for the organisation, despite tournament play not having returned yet. You’ll have seen in Andy Binns’ message last week the volume of important work that has been going on in the background. In tandem with this we have been putting together the schedule for the season. I can’t stress enough what a tough task this is. Trying to liaise with multiple venues and emerge with a calendar where events are appropriately spread across the country and the months, without any clashes can be quite a juggling act. The good news is that it is almost complete.
We’ll be releasing the dates in blocks over the next few weeks. First up are the GB trial dates (these may have already gone out by the time you read this). Next we’ll have the President’s Series (more about this later). Followed soon after by the senior, women’s, junior and veterans dates.
We are pleased to say that we’ll be utilising a venue again this season that we didn’t use in the 19/20 season In the form of Skate Central, Sheffield. This is the largest surface in the country and vital for GB preparations. It will also see the higher end qualifiers played there. My thanks to Ali Cree in his discussions with the Skate Central team. We’ll also be using a venue that we thought may be lost to us. Of course I mean Simply Skate, Rotherham. After some worrying months in the spring this venue is now back up and running, and I’m pleased to say we’ll be using it more in this coming season than had been the case in 19/20.
Unfortunately we have not yet been able to secure any time at our favoured North East venue (Gateshead Leisure Centre) due to on-going restrictions placed on that venue. We’ll continue to talk to them as the season progresses, as will the North East Dekstars in their endeavours to bring back the highly popular Fantastic Fours.
The President’s Series will be a number of one-off tournaments for senior teams across the country during the autumn. We are doing this as a guard against the return of Covid restrictions. Instead of the normal autumn qualifiers we’ll be holding these one off tournaments to help get our senior clubs back into competitive action. Of course we hope that these events go ahead without Covid complications, however should these events not take place we won’t have lost any time on the road to the nationals.
We will be visiting the following venues (some dates are already confirmed):
Manhattan Works, Dundee – 07/11/21
Simply Skate, Rotherham (In lieu of Gateshead) – 05/09/21
Skate Central, Sheffield – 16/10/21
MRA, Lutterworth - TBC
Bordon Roller Rink, Bordon - TBC
House of Sport, Cardiff – 19/09/21
The format of each event will be tailored to the hours available and the size of the surface. Events will be for between 4 and 8 teams, with all events being 4 on 4, except for the Skate Central event, which will be 5 on 5. You’ll notice that there are three events in what is our Central region (Sheffield, Rotherham and Lutterworth). This is to take account of the size of the central conference and also the lack of Gateshead Leisure Centre for the north.
Invites to these events will be published separately on our social media and entry will be allowed as follows:
1. When entry opens for each event, we’ll prioritise BHUK registered teams from that region for a period of approximately ten days. As we haven’t been able to secure Gateshead, we’ll merge the northern conference teams with the Central Conference teams.
2. Following this, BHUK registered teams from outside of the region will be able to enter if spaces remain. This again will be for a period of approximately 10 days.
3. After this period we’ll take entries from composite and scratch teams should spaces still remain.
We hope very much that we’ll see all, or at least the vast majority, of our senior registered BHUK teams throughout the series.
Ball Hockey UK President