Two-tier Irish Hockey League proposed for 2015
Proposal sees top clubs taken out domestic leagues
If the proposal is formally adopted it would mean a further three sides from Ulster and Leinster, two from Munster and another couple of wildcard entries would take part in IHL2
The Irish men’s club hockey landscape looks set to undergo a major transformation in 2015/16 if a proposal for a two-tiered Irish Hockey League goes through.
The proposal will see top clubs taken out of their domestic leagues for the first time with 10 teams – four each from Leinster and Ulster, one from Munster and a wildcard entry – playing in the top tier. It follows forums in the provinces where clubs were asked how they wanted to see the game progress.
Initially, a single national division was suggested but those consultations revealed a desire for two tiers of national leagues with a meritocracy in place to limit the volume of player migration to so-called ‘super-clubs’.
Should the proposal be formally adopted it would mean a further three sides from Ulster and Leinster, two from Munster and another couple of wildcard entries would take part in IHL2. It would replace the current system of clubs playing up to 18 league games in their domestic league before lining out in seven IHL games at the end of the season as well as the Irish Senior Cup.
Tensions between the provinces and the IHA over fixture scheduling, especially with a changing international programme, have caused serious unrest with players in recent times. It is hoped this move will address those concerns by providing a simpler programme.
The IHL regular season will provide one of Ireland’s European spots while the second will come from an end of season, four-team championship with three league sides joined by the Irish Senior Cup winners.
Interested parties have their chance to submit their views on the proposal by May 30th. Elsewhere, Ireland’s men start their Four Nations campaign against Russia tomorrow afternoon before meeting Wales and Spain on Thursday and Friday respectively in Terrassa.