Hockey New Zealand to host Oceania Cup in Stratford

[img_assist|nid=7933|title=Taranaki|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=150|height=70]Hockey New Zealand have won the rights to host the 2013 Oceania Cup which will see the Black Sticks Men and Women heading to Taranaki to take on Australia in October.

In a competitive bid process, Oceania Hockey Federation awarded it to Taranaki over other bidders in Australia due to the local support that Taranaki are offering to make the event a real success.

“We are absolutely delighted to have won the rights to host this. Trans-Tasman competitions always attract a lot of interest and the support we have had from the Taranaki community has been fantastic,” says chief executive Hilary Poole.

To be held from 28 October-3 November, both Black Sticks teams will play Australia in a three test series at the newly re-laid turf in Stratford. Other Pacific nations have also been invited with the draw to be finalised early June.

“Oceania Hockey has traditionally rotated this tournament between Hockey New Zealand and Hockey Australia. We are delighted that with the growth of hockey in the Pacific Island nations of Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu this has meant that we are looking for hosts who are able to provide a quality experience for a potentially larger tournament,” says Oceania Hockey Chairperson Pam Elgar.

“The competitive bid process provided Oceania Hockey Federation great choice between two quality bids. We are looking forward to seeing Stratford deliver a fantastic tournament and experience for all,” says Elgar.

Both Black Sticks teams aim to qualify for the 2014 World Cup by finishing in the top three at Rotterdam’s World League Round 3 in June. Their second opportunity to qualify would be by winning the Oceania Cup.

Hockey New Zealand has already established partnerships with the Stratford District Council, Sport Taranaki, TSB Community Trust, Taranaki Electrical Trust, Venture Taranaki and will work closely with Taranaki Hockey Association to make the event a reality.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for Stratford and Taranaki to get behind an international sporting event and something of this scale doesn’t come along very often. We are looking forward to the promotional opportunities that it provides,” says Stratford District Mayor Neil Volzke.

Stratford District Council chief executive Sue Davidson agrees it is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Taranaki.

“Our community are strong supporters of the local game, so we know that they will get behind these international games,” says Davidson.

The Oceania Cup is held every two years, in 2011 it was hosted in Hobart and prior to that it was in Invercargill. For the first time, this year Oceania Hockey had a competitive bid process to decide which country it would be hosted in.