DIVISION one men's and women's hockey on the Mid North Coast has been revamped with the formation of the Mid North Coast Hockey League.
This will involve sides from the Manning and Port Macquarie-Hastings associations.
While team nominations are still open, officials hope there'll be six teams in both the men's and women's competition.
Manning sides Tigers, Chatham and Sharks are confirmed starters in the men's division, while it appears certain that Wingham, Chatham, Sharks and Tigers will be involved in the women's competition.
Port Thunder and Camden Haven will field teams in both the men's and women's competitions.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Hockey Association president Simon Thresher said a similar competition format had been trialled a few years ago.
"We've been trying it for a few years, but this will sit above the local competitions," he said.
"The other one a few years ago was intertwined and there were barriers for players' participation."- Port Macquarie-Hastings Hockey Association president Simon Thresher
"The other one a few years ago was intertwined and there were barriers for players' participation. This takes away those barriers because the point of it is to get these players supporting local competitions."
Mr Thresher said it was important all players felt like they contributed no matter what division they played.
"You've got to be mindful of your bread and butter players who turn up and pay their fees - they're just as important as the premier league or higher-level players."
It is hoped the competition can expand into masters and junior levels in coming years.
"We've got to make sure this one is successful and get those kinks ironed out," Mr Thresher said.
The league will be run by a committee comprised of three representatives from both associations.
"Six weeks ago we had nothing. Now we have what we think will be a competition that will be very positive for division one hockey on the Mid North Coast,'' competition director Tony Lewis from Taree said.
He said the input and cooperation from both associations has been excellent.
Both associations will also run A-grade men's and women's competitions and Mr Lewis said it is the plan to run the hockey league grand finals in July.
"Now we have what we think will be a competition that will be very positive for division one hockey on the Mid North Coast."- Competition director Tony Lewis
He said the hockey league will have some different rules to the domestic competitions.
This includes having a two-game grand final series if there are teams involved from the Hastings and Manning associations.
One would be in Taree and the other in Port and scores will be cumulative over the two-games similar to football.
"If both grand finalists are from the one association then we'll only play a one-game grand final,'' he said.
However, it has been decided to play a three-team finals series with the team finishing minor premier going straight to the grand final, with second and third to playoff for the other spot.
Mr Lewis said the rules re still being fine tuned, but they will be in place before the start of the season-proper on April 16.
There will be MNC Hockey League games played at Taree and Port Macquarie in the preferred 3pm and 4.30 timeslots every weekend.
Senior hockey in the Manning will be played on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons this year.
Mr Lewis is confident the hockey league concept can expand to eventually take in teams from Coffs Harbour and possibly Grafton.
"But we'll get this year going first and then look at expansion,'' he said.
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