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Hawke’s Bay to host international women’s hockey event
Aiming to showcase the sport, increase fans and attract people to the region, Hawke's Bay will host a new international women's hockey event in April next year.
The Black Sticks Women will play Australia, Argentina, Korea and China at the new world-class hockey turf at Sports Park Hawke's Bay which is due to be complete in early March 2014.
One further team is still to be announced.
Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park Trust Chair Lawrence Yule explains "it's a real coup that Hawke's Bay will be hosting an international event of this scale.
"The commitment is to build it into a regular destination event where international and domestic visitors are coming to the region not only for the world-class hockey but to experience everything special that Hawke's Bay has to offer."
The event was secured in part due to the $2 million commitment from the Hawke's Bay Regional Council for the development of a hockey turf at Sports Park Hawke's Bay.
Yule adds "we have seen a real growth in hockey over the last few years in the region. This turf will not only become the home of an amazing international event, it will also be a fantastic facility for the community."
The Hawke's Bay region has become synonymous with hockey after a group of business leaders and philanthropists came together in 2011 to support the Black Sticks on their journey to the 2012 London Olympics. The partnership has already helped increase hockey participation in the region.
It is from this partnership that the entity called Hawke's Bay Sports Events and Education Consortium Incorporated (HBSEEC) was formed. In partnership with Hockey New Zealand, HBSEEC will be responsible for promoting and managing the event.
Hockey New Zealand General Manager Events Ian Francis adds "we know how passionate the Hawke's Bay community is about hockey, they will back this 100% and make it a success. The aim is for this event to become a regular landmark invitational tournament where the world's top women's teams want to come and compete every year.
"Events are a fantastic way of showcasing our sport to the wider community and increasing our profile developing a successful annual event is a key part of Hockey New Zealand's strategic plan, so it is exciting that this event is in development."
Black Sticks Women's coach Mark Hager will be using this tournament as part of the Black Sticks build-up to the World Cup in Holland in May and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July.
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