Barbs Hagars start hockey season with win over Sailors
BARBARIANS Hagars took the first step to avenging the disappointment of their 2013 grand final loss with a first-up 1-0 win over Sailors on Sunday night.
The first round of the newly revamped Premier League sees the start of regular season hockey in Grafton for the first time in September.
One of the changes is the competition structure, which has seen the old A, B and C Grade change to a four-grade system with the top flight renamed as Premier League.
The same four teams will participate in the top competition.
Bears pipped Royals 3-1 in the other game.
Sailors president Darryl Clark said it had been a busy off-season for him and the club, but he was happy to finally take the field.
"It has been a long buildup," Clark said.
"There's been a lot of running around trying to organise the different grades and players for each grade.
"We had a new online registration system everyone had to use this year and that got a little chaotic at the end.
"The best part is now we get to play some hockey."
Barbs goalie Ryan Creed registered the sole clean sheet in Premier League despite still recovering from a knee injury.
He said it was a good start to the season for both teams, with both sides having their fair share of chances to score.
"The knee is doing okay. It's a bit swollen and sore but it's not too bad now," Creed said.
"A few of the guys like Brad Inmon, Grant Howard and Glen Ryder have moved on.
"They're guys who have been there for five or so years so they're hard to replace.
"We're essentially replacing superstars with fringe first graders; we'll be right as the season goes on."
While they did not start with the best result, Clark said his Premier League team performed well, especially after taking their personnel changes into account.
"A lot of kids have gone off to uni so we've basically got a new side this year," Clark said.
"We've got a handful of players who have come over from other clubs and some of the younger guys have stepped up.
"It's always a struggle to keep them there though," he added.