Hockey the goal for lot more Bay youngsters

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Arna Paewai (left), 8, from Frimley School in Hastings and Niwhai Heperi, 7, from Mahora School in Hastings tussle for possession in the junior hockey grade at Unison's Hockey Stadium on Saturday. Photo / Paul Taylor
Arna Paewai (left), 8, from Frimley School in Hastings and Niwhai Heperi, 7, from Mahora School in Hastings tussle for possession in the junior hockey grade at Unison's Hockey Stadium on Saturday. Photo / Paul Taylor

Junior hockey numbers in Hawke's Bay continue to increase, with player numbers rising by almost 20 per cent leading into the new season, and almost 1000 players taking to the turf in 2016.

Hawke's Bay Hockey administration manager Michelle Francis said the continued partnership with Unison was a strong contributing factor to the increase in participation.

"Following last year's hugely successful season, Hawke's Bay Hockey is looking forward to the months ahead, and is thrilled to have Unison's continued support to further assist in junior hockey's growth within the region," said Mrs Francis.

"To increase by so many players is a testament to the support we receive.

"Our relationship with Unison has assisted us to achieve our goal for growth in the sport, and really strive towards providing quality junior programmes to the province."

The relationship, which falls under Unison's renowned "Greatest Supporter" programme, is one of three junior sports associated with the company, with junior rugby and netball also benefiting from the partnership.

Junior hockey in Taupo is also part of the programme.

Unison relationship manager Danny Gough said the programme was an important channel for delivering electrical safety messages to children, while also supporting grassroots sport.

"We want to see our local children living healthy, active lives and, if we can educate them around electricity and being safe at the same time, the outcomes for both Unison and the sporting associations we're linked with have the potential to be extremely beneficial.

"We believe it's delivering great results for our community, and it's something we're really proud of.

"With the junior hockey season now officially under way, expect Unison's Hockey Stadium, a key partner of Hawke's Bay Hockey, to be awash with colours, including the orange and blue of the Unison branded bags, drink bottles and mouthguards provided to each player," he said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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