It was their first Festival of Hockey experience but the game is not new to Elyse Hutchinson and her family.

Yesterday Ms Hutchinson brought her daughter Tayla, 5, and 6-month-old son Hunter to spend an afternoon in the sun watching the Black Sticks beat China.

For the Havelock North family, hockey is more than just entertainment.

"Everyone in the family has to play," Ms Hutchinson said. "It's the family sport."

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While neither played anymore, the mother-of-two and her partner had played hockey for years.

When Tayla joins the Te Mata Primary School hockey team next term, her father Anthony will be teaching his daughter to play.

Tayla received her first hockey stick a couple of years ago, but has had to wait until she started school to join a team.

"She's very keen to play", her mum said. "She's got a good swing on her, I wouldn't want to be up beside her."

Tayla said she was excited to play the game with her friends. She had been practising at home and "hits pretty good".

It was because of the 5-year-old hockey fan the family attended their first Festival of Hockey event. Ms Hutchinson said her daughter had come home from school "really excited" after Te Mata Primary hosted the Canadian team last week.

Although six-month-old Hunter slept through his first hockey game, his mum said she hoped they would be able to watch more.

"It's very family friendly", she said. "Having a young one, it's great to be able to come."