The 2021/22 Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League season has been impacted by COVID-19, with the competition cancelled for the second year in a row.
Ice Hockey Australia has today made the difficult decision to cancel the upcoming AWIHL season due to the surrounding limitations imposed by the global pandemic.
Earlier in the year, Ice Hockey Australia held meetings with state presidents, IHA National Women’s Director Kylie Taylor, AWIHL Commissioner Melissa Rulli and key stakeholders to discuss the viability of playing a season over the summer.
The discussions continued all throughout 2021 as the five AWIHL clubs – Adelaide Rush, Brisbane Goannas, Melbourne Ice, Perth Infernos and Sydney Sirens – were involved in talks regarding the options for a season going ahead and a hope of navigating a pathway for players to take to the ice.
Most recently, meetings between the league and the clubs resulted in increased talks regarding the lockdowns in various parts of country as well as reservations around player, staff, members and fan safety, as well as the outlook for the sport more generally. It was then mutually agreed that a season would be unable to go ahead due to the many uncertainties going forward.
“After consideration of all the potential effects, it is with great regret that we confirm the difficult decision was made to cancel the 2021/22 AWIHL season,” Taylor said in a statement.
“As the pandemic continues to impose such harsh consequences, we are disappointed for our states and clubs, our players, the sponsors and all of the AWIHL supporters and fans.”
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Amongst the bad news also came some good news with the announcement of key events to look forward to in the new year being added to the calendar. IHA have scheduled an invitational at O’Brien Icehouse in Melbourne and a pre-season event at IceArenA in Adelaide in March and June respectively.
“Notwithstanding the cancellation, we are very excited to announce that two important events are being planned in anticipation of our return to the ice,” Taylor wrote.
“The first event is the Melbourne Invitational, which will be open to any AWIHL club who is willing and able to travel to Melbourne. The second is an AWIHL pre-season event, with all five clubs meeting in Adelaide for a full weekend of games.
“IHA and the AWIHL will continue to do everything possible to bring you these AWIHL events, in addition to planning our 2022/23 season launch.”
This is the second year in a row where the AWIHL season has been cancelled with the league usually starting in October and running through to February.
The league, which was originally formed in 2007 after a pre-cursor showcase series in 2006 and 2007 has been getting stronger with each year of competition, the latest team – Perth – added in 2018.
Reigning champions, the Sydney Sirens were awarded the Joan McKowen Memorial Trophy for the 2019/20 season after a 3-0 win over Adelaide Rush.
You can read the full statement detailing the 2021/22 AWIHL season’s cancellation from IHA here.
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