The first round of matches of the inaugural EY Hockey League are due to tip off this Saturday, September 26th, and it promises to be a season of high quality, exciting hockey. For the first time, teams will compete in 18 rounds to earn their place at the Champions Trophy weekend where the Irish champions will be crowned.

The new full-season EY Hockey League mirrors the domestic league structures in hockey powerhouses such as Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Eugene Magee, Banbridge stalwart and the most capped Irish player in the league, sees huge potential in the role the EY Hockey league can have at all levels of hockey in Ireland “Having played in professional clubs in Holland, Belgium and Germany their competition is extremely high in their leagues making them incredibly exciting games to watch.  The youth of those clubs then gain a significant interest in hockey and perhaps this is why they develop such skills from such a young age.  I’m hoping the same will apply to hockey in Ireland with the massive buzz that this league is creating”.  

Magee also recognised the benefits of the EY Hockey League for players “This league will bring out the best in all its international athletes and help to improve them, as well as everyone around them. There will be fierce competition with the standard of hockey in Ireland being so high at the moment”. 

The new structure of the league means teams will be travelling around the country and the highest quality of hockey will be on display in all 4 provinces. EY Managing Partner Mike McKerr expressed EY’s enthusiasm for the all island league saying “We at EY are delighted to be partnering with the most impressive hockey competition on our island. By supporting the highest performing teams in the sporting arena, as exemplified by the EY Hockey League, we hope to expand on our own strategy to inspire effective and engaged teaming within our firm. We are extremely proud to be supporting Irish hockey as we embark upon what promises to be a highly competitive season”.

Hockey Ireland CEO Mike Heskin is looking forward to what is guaranteed to be an enthralling season and the next chapter for hockey in Ireland “In the past 6 months, in particular, the Green Machine and Green Army have filled us all with equal parts inspiration and confidence. We now move into a new season and the league, much like our association, has a new name but the values we hold and that which our players personify very much remain steadfast.  Moving from the IHA to Hockey Ireland positions us alongside other Olympic and all Ireland sports, we are a progressive sport and are moving into the next chapter for hockey in Ireland”.

Follow the links for full previews of both the men’s (http://www.hockey.ie/news/366087/EY_Hockey_League_Men_s_Preview) and the women’s (http://www.hockey.ie/news/366088/EY_Hockey_League_Women_s_Preview) teams.

 

Round 1 Fixtures:

 

Women’s EY Hockey League

 

Railway Union

v

Cork Harlequins

Park Avenue

26/09/2015

14:15

Greenfields

v

UCC

Dangan

26/09/2015

14:20

Ards

v

Pegasus

Ards Leisure Centre

26/09/2015

14:30

Ulster Elks

v

Pembroke Wanderers

UUJ

26/09/2015

14:30

UCD

v

Hermes Hockey Club

Belfield Water

26/09/2015

14:45

 

 

Men’s EY Hockey League

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cork Church of Ireland

v

Cookstown

Garryduff

26/09/2015

13:30

Three Rock Rovers

v

Glenanne

Grange Road

26/09/2015

15:00

Pembroke Wanderers

v

Lisnagarvey

Serpentine Avenue

26/09/2015

16:00

Railway Union

v

Monkstown

Park Avenue

26/09/2015

16:15

Banbridge

v

Annadale

Havelock Park

26/09/2015

17:00

 Photograph: International Irish Internationals set for the first round with their clubs (Katie Mullen, Peter Caruth, Chloe Watkins, Matthew Bell and Alan Soutern)