Paul Matthews doubtful the NIHL North 1 Moralee season will start this year

Paul Matthews, Whitley Warriors General Manager, is eager to get back to playing competitive games but he says he can’t see the NIHL North 1 season starting ‘this year at all.’

Defending champions, Whitley Warriors, haven’t played a competitive game since the 2019/20 season finished back in March.

While the Warriors finished the season on top of the North 1 Moralee division, they couldn’t progress to become national champions as the play-offs were cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.

Matthews, regarding a start to the season, said: “[I] can’t see the season starting this year at all.”

As the English Ice Hockey Association look to return to competitive sport, following current Government guidelines, they have only been able to progress into phase three of their ‘Return to Play’ plan.

Meaning, training is allowed but season-related games isn’t.

But would playing behind closed doors be a viable option?

“We won’t play behind closed doors as we need fans and sponsorship” says Matthew “We also wouldn’t play via a stream.”

Usually, the season would be well underway by now. But, after seven months without an ice hockey fix, the player’s would be eager to get onto the ice.

Matthews said: “The lads are chomping at the bit but are realistic in the sense they only want to play fully and in normal circumstances.”

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