Academy’s Cordner calls for hockey to follow rugby availability system

Johnny McKee, who plays for both Banbridge Academy and Banbridge HC First XI. Pic: Rowland White / Presseye.
Johnny McKee, who plays for both Banbridge Academy and Banbridge HC First XI. Pic: Rowland White / Presseye.

Banbridge Academy’s Master in Charge of Hockey, Mark Cordner, has called on the sport to follow rugby’s model for school availability.

Sunday’s yes vote to the IHL proposal will have wide-ranging impacts, not least on schools’ hockey. Most school matches currently take place on Saturday mornings before players often play for their club in the afternoon.

In rugby, players choose to play either for their school or their club at the beginning of the season. Cordner believes that system would be a simple solution to any issues.

“I reckon we should have a registration system similar to rugby,” he said. “That means schoolboys are being left to concentrate fully on school hockey. That way no overlap of interests and no overplaying occurs.

“If that was to happen then no changes to schedules would be required at all. Plus, it means more players are being developed.

“We have tremendous pride in our club-school links. It’s great for me to see so many former pupils getting the chance to showcase their abilities and seeing so many taking it to the top level inspires the younger pupils.

“Hopefully this acts as a springboard for future generations of hockey players to enjoy a positive profile.”