There will be no Regional Hockey League this year after Hockey Central Victoria clubs voted to opt out of the competition run in conjunction with Goulburn Valley Hockey Association.
A partnership between the associations that has A-grade teams compete against each other has been occurring annually since 2009.
But following a meeting the majority of HCV clubs decided they did not think it worthwhile to continue with the competition season.
Shepparton Youth Club, Shepparton Strikers, Mooroopna and Echuca-Moama make up the GVHA clubs with Bendigo Senjuns, Strathdale, Loddon Murray and Sandhurst the HCV teams.
Goulburn Valley president Cameron Druitt said clubs in his association were willing to go ahead with the competition, while among HCV’s concerns were travel costs, scheduling and the standard of play.
But Druitt said both organisations would remain amicable in the hope of re-establishing the league in the future.
‘‘We’ll definitely stay in contact with them and we think it is worthwhile, overall it’s disappointing, but the votes have gone the way it has,’’ he said.
‘‘It was a work in progress and had its challenges over the years, but we met those challenges and did the best we could.
‘‘More than anything else it creates variety and adds to the season as the four GV A-grade clubs don’t offer as much variety.’’
With the competition increasing the talent pool GVHA players were exposed to, Druitt said the association would have to look within in order to develop local players.
‘‘We’ll be no worse off hopefully, we have to grow from our juniors and I think there’s some promising growth, but at the other end we need to provide competitive hockey once they hit their later teens,’’ he said.
‘‘If we’re going it alone we want all four A-grade teams to be around the same mark and ideally we will still explore RHL type opportunities in the future.’’
While those future competitions could involve an organisation other than HCV, GVHA will continue preparing for the opening weekend of its season on April 13-14.