Hockey: Research for new Hawke's Bay turf

Hawke's Bay hockey player Neil Edmundson heads for London this week for the inaugural International Masters World Cup and will be taking the opportunity to research turfs and facilities.

Edmundson, who captains the 50-years age group team, is one of three Hawke's Bay players selected to represent New Zealand at the tournament in Kent. Malcolm Sutherland and Phil Teague will play in the 45-years age group team, which Sutherland captains.

"I'll be playing against and meeting with a large group of players who are hockey administrators around the world so it will be a valuable opportunity to research trends in turf development and facilities," Edmundson said.

"Places we can learn from are those that operate regional hockey facilities rather than the Europeans who have a club structure and different needs to those of Hawke's Bay," Edmundson said.

There will be a large contingent of players from throughout Australia, where smaller centres of hockey excellence face similar development demands and funding challenges as those of Hawke's Bay, along with New Zealand teammates, who will provide an update on latest facility upgrade proposals.

Edmundson will also be canvassing feedback on Olympic player experiences on the blue turf, which was controversial before the Games because of the switch away from traditional green surfaces.

As chairman of the Hawke's Bay Hockey Artificial Surface Trust, Edmundson said his tour overseas couldn't come at a better time, as plans for a $3.4 million hockey stadium proposal for the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park in Hastings were being debated.

The Hawke's Bay Regional Council has set aside $2 million contributed for a new hockey turf in Hawke's Bay but wants agreement on plans from the Artificial Surface Trust, Hastings District Council, Napier City Council, Hawke's Bay Hockey Association and the Regional Sports Park Trust before allocating the funding.

Edmundson has represented New Zealand at Masters' level since 2001, including the last seven years in the 50-plus age group and his team is ranked third going into the tournament where England are also ranked among the favourites.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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