Melbourne’s hockey fans are so angry they are demanding the league end its lockout, the team’s president has said.
“The lockout is hurting our game, it’s hurting our players, it is hurting the community,” Mark Chipman told Sky Sports News on Monday.
“I don’t think anyone really wants to see it go away, and I think the players are feeling it.”
The lockout has cost the team about $1.5 million in travel expenses and has forced them to play out the season on the road.
“I think we have a good chance of being back,” Chipman said.
While he wouldn’t comment on the possibility of a return to the regular season, he admitted it would be difficult to imagine that not happening.
“That’s a huge, huge concern for us.
It’s a very tough situation to be in.
It could happen at any time.
“I think if we don’t get out there and play, that’s going be a big concern.””
But he also suggested the team was going to make up the shortfall by playing more games.””
I think if we don’t get out there and play, that’s going be a big concern.”
But he also suggested the team was going to make up the shortfall by playing more games.
“We’ve got some great young players and some great coaches,” he said.
The Hurricanes have a strong chance of winning the 2017-18 season, but their home crowd has been extremely rowdy.
Melbourne’s most recent game in the AFL season was against Fremantle at Etihad Stadium, a game that ended in a scoreless draw.
The club has already lost three finals in a row, but Chipman also suggested they would not be averse to playing a couple of home games.
He said the club had been training for the game at its training centre in the city.
AFL president Gillon McLachlan said he was happy with the results of the club’s home games, but admitted there were “certain things we need to do to improve our performance” in other venues.
Chipman said he believed there was no reason the club could not return to premiership contention in 2017-2018, but acknowledged the players would be disappointed if they had not played more games this season.
“It’s not an easy decision, and it’s one we’ve got to make and we’re going to have to work out how to do it,” he told Sky.
There were no immediate plans for a change in coaching staff.
Former Melbourne player Nicky Wines is expected to be promoted to senior coach next season, with assistant coach Michael Rischitelli and coach of the year Paul McTavish returning.
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