Winter sport seasons shortened for junior, youth teams

Photo: Getty Images / File
Photo: Getty Images / File
Six winter sports in Christchurch are shortening the length of their junior and youth seasons.

The summer sport season traditionally ends in late March and winter sport starts in early April.

But, under the new arrangement, the organisations representing rugby, rugby league, football, netball, basketball and hockey will now start their junior and youth winter seasons at the beginning of May. The winter season will end in the second week of September.

The six major winter sports signed a memorandum of agreement about the changes with Sport Canterbury and Christchurch City Council.

The move has been welcomed by the city council, which will now have more time to prepare playing fields for winter and summer sports.

"Our recreation and sports team has worked with Sport Canterbury and the sporting codes on this initiative, which will ensure that children and young people who play both winter and summer sports get a breather between seasons," said city council recreation and sports services manager David Bailey.

"As a council we are very supportive of this move as it also means that we will have more time to prepare our playing fields for the winter and summer playing seasons.

"The short turn-around between summer and winter sports competitions has always been challenging, but with a later winter start and an agreed finish date, we will now have a renovation window in the autumn and spring to undertake sports field maintenance in preparation for the next season of play," Bailey said.

Sport Canterbury chief executive Julyan Falloon said the move to align their seasons is about "protecting the well-being of children".

"In lockdown, New Zealanders reflected on the value of balance and importance of taking time out for people of all ages," Falloon said.

"It’s easy to talk about the importance, but taking steps to promote balance and give kids a break from activity is another matter.

"We admire the Canterbury sports for stepping up and announcing what we believe is a first in the country."

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