Guernsey Hockey Premier League pilot will be season climax

A BRAND new tournament will see Guernsey’s best male players drafted before going head-to-head over one weekend as an idea to help refresh the game at the top level locally.

England Master International Andy Whalley will coach one of the four teams in the new Guernsey Hockey Premier League tournament. (Picture by Martin Gray, 31497707)
England Master International Andy Whalley will coach one of the four teams in the new Guernsey Hockey Premier League tournament. (Picture by Martin Gray, 31497707)

The Guernsey Hockey Premier League, the brainchild of Island men’s team coach Andy Good, will see four teams – the Western Wizards, the Southern Stars, the Eastern Eagles and the Northern Nomads – picked randomly on 24 March, one week before the inaugural competition in which they will face-off in a round-robin on Friday 31 March and Saturday 1 April

‘Everyone always talked about mixing the teams up and this is one way to do it without the players having to leave their clubs,’ said Good.

‘It is a bit like the house system we have at Elizabeth College – an internal competition where you play against your mates.

‘It kind of came about because of the Easter Festival stopping and having no men’s cup this season – it is replacing those two.

‘It is a new format, a new idea, which allows players to play with those people they do not usually do as a one-off and it gives the youngsters a good environment to broaden their experience playing alongside senior Island players.

‘The intention is for it to be highly competitive – not like a friendly festival.’

The draft will see Division One players put into pots and then allocated to a squad via a spinning wheel with four colours corresponding to the teams, which will be coached by Good, his Island team manager Kev Smith, former Island coach Andy Whalley and Daniel Griggs, who has taken charge of men’s open training this season.

‘It will throw up some interesting results as the names come out,’ said Good.

He added that if the competition proved popular, there may be scope for it to grow in future and possibly move to earlier in the season to help with selection for the inter-insulars.

‘This is just a pilot,’ he said.

‘With the Elizabeth College pitch being relaid next year, hopefully we might be able to expand it with perhaps semi-finals and final.

‘Eventually, if it works, we might be able to branch out and ask some guys from England to come and play in it – make it a premier competition for hockey on the island – but getting it off the ground first is the most important thing.

‘It is really down to the players, but the feedback I’m getting is that people are interested and they want to play in it.’

Guernsey Hockey Premier League

24 March – Draft.

31 March and 1 April – Tournament.

Four teams: Western Wizards (coach Andy Good), Southern Stars (coach Kevin Smith), Eastern Eagles (coach Daniel Griggs), Northern Nomads (coach Andy Whalley).

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