The FIH has announced that the 2011 edition of the men’s Champions Trophy will be held in Auckland, New Zealand from December 3-11.
As part of the move, New Zealand, ranked seven in the world, will replace India (9) in the Champions Trophy. India was originally allotted a place in the Champions Trophy as the host, but has now been extended an invitation to play as the top-seeded team at the Champions Challenge in November in South Africa.
The hosts will be joined by Australia, Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Korea and Pakistan in the tournament.
“It is always tough to move an event out of any country, but I have to say that the silver lining is the bid from New Zealand,” said FIH president Leandro Negre. “New Zealand will put on a first-rate Champions Trophy and has been extremely flexible and professional given the tough circumstances and tight timeline. I know that they will do an excellent job hosting the event.”
Hockey New Zealand chief executive Hilary Poole.said: “It is a privilege to be hosting this event. We have been overwhelmed how quickly our key partners have come together to offer support to ensure this is a truly fantastic event. We have the structure in place and with work already underway, we are confident that we can deliver a world-class event in a short timeframe.
“It is the last major event on the men’s calendar prior to the 2012 London Olympics – so to have the top eight nations competing here in Auckland, including our own Black Sticks, will give New Zealanders the chance to see some world-class hockey,” says Poole.
FIH competitions committee chairman Ken Read went to New Zealand for a site visit and came away with a positive impression. “After seeing the facilities and infrastructure first hand I am very confident that Hockey New Zealand is prepared to host a great event for the athletes and supporters,” Read concluded.
The schedule of the 2011 men’s Champions Trophy will be released in the upcoming weeks, but it is certain that the dates of December 3-11 will remain fixed. In addition, a revised schedule for the Champions Challenge in South Africa will also be published. Both events will have eight-team pools in a nine-day tournament.
With a cumulative television audience estimated at 38 million, it is the first time that New Zealand has held an international hockey event of this scale.
“Auckland welcomes the FIH 2011 Men’s Champions Trophy in December. I’m determined to make Auckland an events destination, and hosting the world’s top eight men’s hockey teams is another huge boost for our region hot on the heels of RWC 2011. In addition to the sporting and media benefits, this event will inject around $1m of new money into our economy. The teams and officials directly involved in the event will generate over 4,000 visitor nights alone,” says Mayor Len Brown.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Leandro Negre says New Zealand will put on a first-rate Champions Trophy. “Hockey is a growing sport in New Zealand and the Black Sticks are consistently performing on the world stage. I know they will do an excellent job as host, they have been extremely flexible and professional,” says Negre.
Critical to hosting the event was the support from successful businessmen and philanthropist Owen Glenn. “He immediately stepped up with funds from his Glenn Family Foundation to help Hockey New Zealand secure the tournament, by becoming the naming rights sponsor,” says Poole.
Glenn says it is a real privilege to be involved. “I was fortunate to play hockey for 20 years in five different countries. During this period I met many good people, including three lasting friendships. Hockey is developing into a real community based sport that involves everyone, it’s a true family sport which is so important for our youth,” notes Glenn.
Other major partners include Auckland Council, Ministry of Economic Development (through New Zealand Major Events), SPARC, High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) and New Zealand Entertainment and Events Corporation (NZEEC).
“We congratulate Hockey New Zealand and are very proud to support the Men’s Champion’s Trophy through the Major Events Development Fund. Securing this event shows that New Zealand is developing a strong reputation as an events host, able to work to tight deadlines, and still produce an event that is truly world-class,” says Kylie Archer, manager major events for the Ministry of Economic Development.
The event will be hosted at North Harbour Hockey Stadium which can comfortably host 5,000 spectators, the teams, event officials, VIPs, media and volunteers. North Harbour hosted the FIH 2008 Olympic qualification tournament.