The Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) season remains in limbo for 2020 with Newcastle Northstars general manager Garry Dore unsure if any matches will go ahead this year.
Travel, crowds and individual health were among the concerns of AIHL officials, who made an announcement over the weekend to postpone the start of this campaign, as the fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic continues.
"With the situation at hand, it was inevitable," Dore told the Newcastle Herald on Monday.
"There was no way we could go ahead because the health of the players, the staff, the volunteers, the fans and everybody's families had to be put first. It's disappointing for everyone, but you've got to deal with the cards in front of you."
Round one of the eight-team competition was scheduled to start on April 18.
The AIHL have left the door open to potentially begin the season later, but depending on the status of COVID-19.
"We will continue to monitor available medical advice from the World Health Organisation, (WHO), IIHF, IHA and Federal and State governments," AIHL commissioner David Turik said.
"The league will meet regularly to assess any progress and provide a further update when there is a substantive change to the present conditions."
The Northstars, six-time national champions and hosts of the 2019 finals series at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium, were again due to house a few overseas imports in Newcastle this year.
"I've already had to deliver the bad news to the imports we had ready to come down here this season," Dore said.
Dore said local players had started training in February and may continue skating once a week.
In other sporting disruptions for the region, Newcastle Netball Association competitions won't start until at least May 2 following a statewide announcement form Netball NSW on Monday night.
According to the statement: "To assist with infection control and in the absence of a defined position on community sport from government ... all community netball competitions in NSW should be suspended until May 2".
This includes "playing, training and grading".
Netball NSW, who stressed that 2020 seasons are "not being cancelled", said they would review their current position on April 15.
Furthermore, as of Monday afternoon all Newcastle District Women's Hockey Association competitions have been postponed awaiting updates from Hockey NSW in regards to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
AFL Hunter Central Coast are expected to provide an update later this week.
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