By SAT Sports Desk
Melbourne 25 March: Hockey fans are in for a big bash with the announcement of a new festival of hockey and showpiece international hockey tournament for the next three years.
Announced by the Victorian Government, the new men’s tournament, which will be broadcast internationally, will take place from 22-27 November 2016 and will feature Australia, India and Malaysia, with a fourth team to be confirmed soon.
“Alongside the men’s competition, Australia and India’s women will play a three-match Test series, with a high-profile Friday night encounter set to put world class women’s sport in the spotlight once again, says a Hockey Australia media release.
The festival of hockey will feature a series of spin-off events including community engagement opportunities and a business forum. Two Test matches involving Australia and India men will also be hosted in regional Victoria as part of this partnership.
“Victorians love watching the Kookaburras and the Hockeyroos wear the green and gold. This is a rare chance to see our nation’s top players against the best in the world,” said The Hon. John Eren MP, Minister for Tourism and Major Events; and Sport.
“We’re thrilled to be taking two Tests to a regional centre, because we know the big sporting events mean big benefits for regional economies.
“These are the types of events we want in Victoria, because they mean jobs and a stronger economy.”
Cam Vale, Chief Executive of Hockey Australia, said, “The festival of hockey in Melbourne will be the highest profile event the sport has seen in Australia since the Champions Trophy in 2012, allowing us to showcase the sport and our partnership with India to the country and the rest of the world.
“In 2016, it will provide Australian sports fans their first opportunity to see the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras back on home turf after what we hope will be a successful Olympic Games campaign in Rio.
“In the Kookaburras and India, we have two of the in-form teams in world hockey right now. Malaysia are hot on the heels of the best, sitting just outside the top ten, and we’re excited about the prospect of including the proposed fourth team, which we will look to announce after discussions and confirmation of our broadcast partners.
“Perhaps the biggest strength of our sport is its gender equality and it’s a great reflection of that strength that the Hockeyroos will host the Indian women’s team for three Tests as part of the event. Their standout Friday night fixture, we are certain will capture the imagination of the public, sponsors and broadcasters alike in the spirit of the famous hockey movie partially shot in Melbourne – Chak De India.”
India’s participation in the event comes as a consequence of Hockey Australia’s groundbreaking Memorandum of Understanding with the Hockey India, signed last year, which will see the Indian men’s national team tour to Australia over the next three years.
With a strong focus on the Asia region, it is anticipated the event will expand in 2017 and 2018. Other innovative concepts will be developed and announced as part of this festival of hockey.
Victorian Festival of Hockey
22-27 November 2016
State Netball and Hockey Centre, Melbourne
Men’s four nations: Australia, India, Malaysia plus one
Women’s Test series: Australia v India
Australia v India, men’s Test series, regional Victoria
30 November – 1 December 2016(Location to be confirmed).
- SAT News Service.