THE Basingstoke Bison fans will have to wait until late November at the earliest, to see the Herd back in action on the ice.

This was the outcome of the latest National Ice Hockey League meeting.

It is hoped to hold challenge matches and a pre-season cup competition from late November and through December.

The present target set for the start of the league campaign is the week of January 4, 2021.

All the above will depend on Covid-19 restrictions at the time and is of course subject to change.

Bison player/coach Ashley Tait said: “As a club we support and respect their decision whole heartedly and confer that in this ever changing landscape we must take every step possible to ensure that the safety of all is paramount, be it the rink staff, our supporters, the players or the club staff and loyal volunteers.”

The current dates will give the clubs something to aim for as a start point, but at present it looks highly likely that social distancing rules will still be in place and this would impact on crowd sizes.

The level at which attendance is restricted will be critical as to whether it is financially viable for teams to compete.

Elsewhere, the league have started work on Covid-19 protocols at arenas for games, as well as building a flexible fixture model that would be able to cope with local lockdowns.

The next league meeting is later this month to progress the plans for the start of the season and give further updates.

Due to the season being put back, the Bison season ticket package which was due to close last week, has now been extended to Saturday, October 31.