Author: Ben Somerford
Hockey Australia today announces that Wollongong will host the 2019 Masters Indoor Challenge and 2020 Australian Indoor Hockey Festival at the Illawarra Hockey Stadium.
HA have partnered with Destination Wollongong for hosting rights for the events which are a key part of the annual domestic Hockey calendar.
The Masters Indoor Challenge will be played from Friday 22 November to Sunday 24 November in the men's and Friday 29 November to Sunday 1 December in the women’s.
The Australian Indoor Hockey Festival, which includes Under-13s, Under-15s, Under-18s, Under-21s and Open divisions, will be played from Saturday 4 January to Sunday 26 January.
Hockey Australia CEO Matt Favier said: “We are delighted to partner with Destination Wollongong and the Illawarra Hockey Stadium to confirm Wollongong as the host venue for these two exciting Indoor Hockey events.
“Wollongong and the greater Illawarra region is a true Hockey heartland with numerous past and present national players hailing from the area, so it’s a fitting location for these events.
“Australia achieved our best-ever results at the 2018 Indoor Hockey World Cup and the Australian Indoor Hockey Festival will be a key pathway towards the 2022 Indoor Hockey World Cup.
“The Indoor Masters Challenge was held for the first time late last year, aiding preparation before our Australian teams which participated for the first time at the Masters Indoor World Cup in Hong Kong in February with great results and we’re excited for another edition.”
Destination Wollongong Major Events Manager Jeremy Wilshire said: “We are excited to have secured both the Masters Indoor Challenge and Australian Indoor Hockey Festival for the region in 2020.
“Wollongong hosted the Australian Indoor Hockey Festival in 2016 and 2017 with the event injecting almost $2 million into the local economy and with the event continuing to go from strength to strength we expect this will be much higher next year.
“We are also looking forward to welcoming the Masters Indoor Challenge to the region for the first time, with a resurfacing project recently completed at the Illawarra Hockey Stadium we are sure there will be fierce competition across consecutive weekends.”
Hockey Australia Masters National Coordinator Co-Chairs Norman Same and Sue Briggs said: “The feedback from last year’s Masters Indoor Challenge was very positive and we’ve taken on board some of the recommendations we’ve received.
“The social non-representative model where players were not aligned to State’s was highly supported so we will continue to run the event like that but we will be running the men’s and women’s titles on different weekends.”
The Australian Indoor Hockey Festival will run as follows: Open (4-7 January), Under-21s (9-12 January), Under-18s (13-16 January), Under-13s (18-21 January) and Under-15s (22-26 January).
Masters Indoor Challenge and Australian Indoor Hockey Festival results and ladders will be available at www.hockeyaustralia.altiusrt.com.