MANNING Hockey Association has delayed the start of the 2021 season until Thursday April 29.
This is a fortnight later than originally anticipated. The delay has been caused by the extensive damage at the Manning Hockey Centre caused by last month's flooding.
Manning Hockey president Tony Barton said it is likely the Terry Launders Field (TLF) won't be playable this year.
"There's damage to the turf and the foundations and this means the TLF cannot be used for any purpose,'' Mr Barton explained.
The association had planned to play games on Friday nights and Saturdays this year. However, it now appears Thursday night will be added to the draw as there will only be the two turf fields available to counter the backlog of games.
Mr Barton said the Allan Taylor Field (ATF) requires a 'Make Safe' clean before it is playable.
"It would also benefit from a deep clean and reinstatement of some sand at a later date, but this is not required for the season to start,'' he added.
The association's third turf field wasn't damaged, although its use is subject to MidCoast Council approval.
Mr Barton expects work to start early this month on the Make Safe clean. He hopes council will sign off on the work the week starting Monday April 26 in time for the proposed starting date for the season.
Mr Barton said council has been fully supportive of the association's efforts to get hockey underway this year.
"We can only imagine the demands they are currently responding to, but at the same time they are doing everything they can for Manning Valley Hockey,'' he said.
"Should we only have two fields available throughout the 2021 season, then a new training plan will be developed in consultation with the clubs.''
Mr Barton said that despite the problems, the association is hoping to register 800 members this year, up from 636 in 2020's Covid-impacted season.
He said previously that the delay in starting the season won't worry the newly formed Mid North Coast Hockey League, division one men's and women's competitions that will involve sides from the Manning and Hastings associations.
This is expected to be played over 12 weeks and will be incorporated into the season-proper in both associations.