The Men's Black Sticks will be back in Stratford, playing Korea for a place at next year's Tokyo Olympics.

The ninth-ranked Black Sticks have drawn the 16th ranked Koreans in a two-match home series after the team missed its first opportunity to qualify for the Olympics when they lost the Oceania Cup in Queensland.

The women's Black Sticks have already earned their place in Tokyo,winning their Oceania Cup matches.

With both games on Stratford's TET hockey turf, locals are encouraged to come along and support the national team.

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Hockey New Zealand Communications Manager Matthew Williams says Hockey New Zealand is expecting around 1200 people to attend each match.

"There is no further chance for the New Zealand team - it's do or die in the series. If they lose, their only role in the Olympics will be as a cheering squad."

"The International Hockey Federation has14 series happening around the world which will have seven men's teams and seven women's teams book their place at the Olympic Games where they will join the continental champions."

Matthew says if the Vantage Black Sticks win, they will have just under 12 months to prepare to bring home medals from the Tokyo games.

"The Vantage Black Sticks Men have a proud history at the Olympic Games including winning the gold medal in Montreal in 1976."

Matthew says he would like to see plenty of local support for the game.

"This series is very important and the local support and encouragement from the fans and community is going to play a big role in helping the Black Sticks punch their ticket to Tokyo."

Matthew says having an important series on their doorstep is going to be exciting for the community.

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"It is a great coup for Taranaki Hockey which helped deliver an outstanding event in the recently concluded TSB Community Trust Series against Japan.

"It would be great to see Stratford backing black all the way to the Olympic Games."

■ The Olympic Qualifiers takes place Saturday November 2 and Sunday November 3 at 3.10pm. Tickets from Dash Tickets.
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