By Andy Potts
The abrupt curtailment of the 2019-20 hockey season has left players all over the world waiting impatiently for a chance to get back into meaningful action. Within the professional game, the hiatus brings challenges: clubs face financial problems, with some already reporting that they won’t be able to compete next season and others launching fundraisers to help them through a difficult summer.
Below the pro game, however, there’s a vast community of pay-to-play hockey. It can range from the humblest of beer leagues right up to national championships featuring full internationals. Here too, there is frustration at the lack of action – and even as lockdown ends, not every team is able to return to the ice right away.
As England’s ice rinks reopen for socially-distanced skating, IIHF writer Andy Potts caught up with two teams – Bracknell and Whitley Bay – facing very different circumstances. The article includes a chat with GB Women’s Steph Towns.