Hockey kids get lift from NZ teams

By Alice Lock

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New Zealand takes on Korea in the Festival of Hockey, at the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park in Hastings in April. Photo / Paul Taylor
New Zealand takes on Korea in the Festival of Hockey, at the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park in Hastings in April. Photo / Paul Taylor

Hawke's Bay's "long-standing and valuable" relationship with the Black Sticks has seen the number of primary school hockey players increase.

Bruce Mactaggart said young player numbers were on the rise since a regional sponsorship deal with the team was negotiated for the second time.

Mr Mactaggart and Rod Miller formed a relationship with the teams in 2012 before the Black Sticks headed to London Olympics. Due to its success they decided to carry the deal on.

"The relationship will continue well into the future, as we have some exciting opportunities and announcements in the pipeline," Mr Mactaggart said.

This relationship had opened up hockey resources for young people in Hawke's Bay, with the possibility of more training camps and tournaments in the future.

"I think it is such a wonderful opportunity for a society our size and we need to make the most of it."

The Festival of Hockey held earlier this year was just one example of how Hawke's Bay was getting behind the sport, and Mr Mactaggart said it was expanding each year.

"I think it is really exciting to see how it is growing, year on year it keeps getting bigger."

Both the men's and women's national teams booked quarter-final births after winning their latest pool games at the Rio Olympics.

The Black Sticks men faced world No3 Germany at 11.30am today while the women face transtasman rivals Australia Tuesday 1am.

Black Stick Emily Gaddum, who was unavailable for Rio due to pregnancy, said they were very grateful for the support.

Gaddum said life off the turf was also going well, as the team were enjoying the atmosphere and surroundings of the Olympic village.

"Rio had certainly put it on weatherwise with playing temperatures averaging in the high 20s," she said.

Mr Mactaggart encouraged members of the community to rally together as they had reached the knockout stages of the tournament.

"Watch them, support them and wish them well by sending messages of encouragement to the team online."

- To get behind the team, visit the Black Sticks' facebook page:

- Hawkes Bay Today

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