The Malaysian Hockey League gets underway on September 1 and will conclude by October 10, making it the shortest competition in its history since the MHL was inaugurated in 1987.
Several factors contribute towards this phenomenon but ultimately it all boils down to planning, both by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation and the various national teams.
And it is the teams that participate in the MHL that ultimately have to pay the price as not only they are left wondering if they can source players from overseas, but some are faced with the gruesome task of justifying their participation as a shorter league means they fail to meet the "return of investment" as required by their top management or sponsors.
But we could spend the whole day discussing this issue and cannot resolve it as there are just too many people in MHC that know the sport then me.
With six teams in the Premier Division, namely KL Hockey Club, Tenaga Nasional Berhad, Sapura, Maybank, UniKL and the combined team of Nur Insafi-MBI, the matches are expected to be close.
Missing from the equation this time around is former champions Yayasan Negri Sembilan who made a return after a 15 year hiatus last season only to realize that long term development was better off then buying success via signing up 11 foreigners.
Now interestingly the focus has shifted on coaches this season rather then the players as there seems to be a lot happening behind the scenes as teams scramble for coaches.
The million dollar question is will the coaches with the national teams be allowed to coach clubs?
There are two different thoughts to this as some feel that these coaches should concentrate on the national duty. And there is also the argument of conflict of interest while the most glaring is why should NSC/MHC pay their salaries while coaching clubs.
Coaches in the likes of K.Dharmaraj, Nor Azlan Bakar, K. Gobinathan, Arul Selvaraj, Lim Chiow Chuan, M.Nadarajah, Lailin Abu Hassan and other support staff are in this peculiar position as they await the MHC Coaching Committee to come out with a ruling.
Really with the exception of Paul Revington, these coaches should be allowed to impart their knowledge with the various clubs. The issue of conflict of interest can be easily overcome by not allowing them to sit on the bench.
With regards to the payment issue, perhaps there could be a win win situation with the coaches going on half pay leave or fully paid given them they do not earn as much as the foreign legion of coaches we employ.
As for the First Division, the teams that are expected to participate are Bandar Penawar Sports School, Bukit Jalil Sports School, Armed Forces, Johor HA and new entry Perak Malays who used to play in the MHL in the 1990's.
The position of the other teams that played last season, Uniten and Uitm is yet to be ascertained.
Perhaps the position will be much clearer when MHC sorts out the sponsors, the prize money structure for Division One and sends out the entry forms to teams and states.