Scottish Hockey launches new Premiership for men and women
Scottish Hockey has announced its new men’s and women’s Premiership divisions to raise the standard of the domestic club game and close the gap between domestic hockey and international Hockey. The exciting new Premiership divisions will develop over the next three years and replace National League 1 in both genders.
Over last season Scottish Hockey embarked on a consultation process which included meetings with clubs. These meetings explored, discussed, and agreed a number of actions to evolve the existing top division in both genders – in a phased approach over a period of three years. The mandate to progress was also ratified by the Scottish Hockey Senior Competitions Forum.
At these club consultation meetings there has been agreed performance criteria to underpin the new Premiership.
There will be the formation of a Premiership Management Group to oversee the league consisting elected members from clubs; Scottish Hockey staff members; and a Chair. There is also the establishment of a clear set of performance focused principles to drive the development of the league and guide the decision making process for the Premiership Management Group.
Some of the proposed changes for the upcoming season include an amendment to the play-off structure. While the top four playoff will be retained in the Premiership, the promotion and relegation play off will change to a one-off match between ninth in the Premiership and second in National League 2, with automatic promotion for the winners of National League 2 and automatic relegation for the bottom team in the Premiership.
Teams will play four quarters of 17½ minutes, with no provision for stopping the clock for penalty corners and goals. During year one we will undertake a feasibility study to establish whether a move to 4 x 15 quarters is manageable in future.
Coach and Umpire Development Forums will be held preseason to disseminate good practice from international hockey to help support the learning and development of premiership club coaches and umpires. Coach / umpire collaboration planning and review meetings will also be held to improve the levels of understanding and communication between umpires and coaches.
In year two a Premiership Umpires Panel will be created to ensure Scotland’s best and aspiring best umpires are consistently officiating at the top level of club hockey.
There will also be the introduction of ball patrol for matches to speed up play in the second year.
The Premiership will move towards a standardised year-on-year calendar with the Premiership Management Group establishing as consistent a calendar as possible, and ensure best-v-best competition whenever possible. A consistent window for Premiership match times will be designed to create an “appointment to view” for spectators and assist the promotion of matches and the league.
A Premiership Promotions and Media Group will be created in year one to establish a creative partnership between Scottish Hockey and clubs to showcase and promote the league, and the clubs competing within it. Over three years the ambition is for this to lead to streaming and broadcast opportunities for Premiership matches.
By year three video analysis will be available of all Premiership matches on a centralised sharing platform to aid the further development of match analysis for member teams.
A new Premiership Club Development Programme will see the creation of bespoke support programmes for premiership clubs, designed to increase the depth of competition within the league and promote player retention for top ten clubs.
We will also investigate the opportunity to create a Combined Premiership Title – a third title to compliment the men’s and women’s titles for clubs who have both genders competing in the Premiership. This would be decided by the aggregate of points achieved by both teams in their Premiership divisions.
Scottish Hockey’s Head of Performance Andy Tennant said, “We have been working in partnership with our leading clubs through the consultation project on forming a Premiership, and we look forwards to building on the good work done so far to create a Scottish Hockey Premiership we can all be proud to be a part of.”
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