Covid is having implications on selection of national masters’ teams in New Zealand, writes Bill Tomkins.
In New Zealand the National Women’s and Men’s Masters Tournament for all age groups was due to commence in February.
On the Saturday night the tournament committee were advised of a suspected outbreak of COVID in Auckland and Hockey New Zealand had to make the very difficult decision to cancel the tournament to avoid any potential risks to players.
The tournament is now rescheduled a week early at the same venue in Tauranga in 2022.
The implications not only affects players’ ability to meet and compete but poses future problems for selections at international tournaments.
Both Australia, which has also been hampered by masters competitions, and New Zealand were in discussions about the bi-annual Trans-Tasman series that had been deferred from March 2021. Also, they were looking at initial selections of training squads for the outdoor 2022 World Cups Tournaments.
The major question facing both countries is how do you select training squads when there is no National tournament?
From a broader World Hockey Masters perspective it’s what will be the possible non-inclusion of either New Zealand or Australian teams have on the 2022 Outdoor World Cup?
It will be interesting to follow progress in each country and any roll-on effect.