Our top men’s and women’s hockey players will feature in a new Premier Hockey League launching next month.
The eight-team (four men and four women), 28-match competition will double as a selection event for the Vantage Black Sticks as they rebuild towards next year’s postponed FIH Pro League and the Tokyo Olympics.
The inaugural league will be held at the new purpose-built National Hockey Centre in Albany, Auckland and matches will be free to attend. The league will run from August 20-23 and September 9-13 for the men, and August 27-30 and September 17-20 for the women.
Hockey New Zealand CEO Ian Francis said they were excited to deliver the competition following today’s funding announcement from the Minister of Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson.
“We’re grateful to Sport NZ and Minister Robertson for the incredible support announced today, and look forward to bringing top-class domestic hockey to our communities”.
“Hockey in New Zealand underwent a comprehensive strategic review to ensure we were fit-for-purpose to achieve one of our key goals for the Vantage Black Sticks Men and Women – to win medals at the upcoming Olympics.
“We have evolved our system to ensure we work more closely with the next tier of players, as well as helping bridge the gap between club and international hockey. This will not only help our national team’s performance on the world stage, but it will continue to grow our game.”
The Premier Hockey League is focused on progressing New Zealand’s top talent into the high-performance environment. Players for the league will be selected from across the country and are all available for Vantage Black Sticks selection. Many are part of the newly developed Performance Network, and all have been back training to prepare for full match play next month.
Hockey New Zealand is also thrilled to announce that Sky Sport is confirmed as the new League’s official broadcaster.
Tex Teixeira, Sky Sport Chief Content Officer commented, “Our aim at Sky Sport Next is to support and encourage New Zealand athletes across a wide range of sports, particularly those with a pathway to the Olympics. We’re excited that Sky Sport and Sky Sport Next will showcase the Premier Hockey League including the Vantage Black Sticks National Squads – inspiring future world champions, Commonwealth Games athletes and Olympians.”
The previous Ford National Hockey League is now called the Ford National Hockey Championships and is where the 32 Associations will compete for national honours. Along with the K Cup for women and the Challenge Trophy for men, these tournaments remain the pinnacle provincial competitions in the country. They will return in 2021 after Covid-19 enforced cancellations this year.
PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE DATES
20-23 August – Men
27-30 August – Women
9-13 September – Men
17-20 September – Women
All matches will be played at the National Hockey Centre in Albany, Auckland