A total of 221 young hockey players took to the field to participate in the inaugural Taranaki Youth Hockey Festival over the Queen's Birthday weekend.

They payed 65 games of modified hockey with teams scoring a total of 242 goals over the weekend. The festival included the Pennington Cup for children in Years 6-8 (141 participants), and the TET Junior Cup for Years 3-5 (80 participants).

Umpires and officials were supported throughout the event with 18 young aspiring umpires gaining some mentoring and coaching from Taranaki experienced 5s and club level umpires.

Jackson Taylor from Stratford High School was appointed as the Tournament umpires manager and he enjoyed mentoring the younger umpires.

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"It's so great to see all the young umpires keen to learn and wanting to become an umpire."

Taranaki Hockey executive officer Reachelle Beasley said the support from the community for the event was amazing.

"To have 221 children participate in this event is fantastic. It just shows how passionate the Taranaki community is about their hockey. The community were so helpful throughout the weekend offering to help where needed. They even helped us take down all the boards at the end of the event."

The event was focused on participation and although there were trophies to win, that was not the focus of the tournament.

"Every coach was focused on ensuring every member of their team had a fun and enjoyable experience. Coaches did a great job with implementing Fair Play policy for all their players, regardless of their skill level. The coaches ensured this was an all-inclusive event for their players, and for that they should be commended," says Reachelle.