Melbourne, April 24 (IANS) Hockey Australia (HA) and Hockey New Zealand (HNZ) will put aside their traditional on-field rivalry to work together to launch a new annual contest that will pitch all four national teams into a battle of true trans-Tasman pride.
Australia’s Kookaburras and Hockeyroos and New Zealand’s men’s and women’s Black Sticks will take centre stage in the event, following the signing of a four-year agreement, the first of its kind between the two countries.
Although the exact competition format is still to be confirmed, it is proposed that the teams will battle it out for one trophy, with the first event in 2016.
“We expect that this new annual contest will be a real step forward for the sport in terms of engaging fans and raising the profile of hockey on both sides of the Tasman,” HNZ chief executive Malcolm Harris said.
HA chief executive Cam Vale said the agreement is important for the future growth of hockey in both countries.
“We have the chance to develop something from scratch with entertainment and the fan experience at the heart, creating a new, big event. Sports fans love the Australia-New Zealand rivalry and the rivalry in hockey is one of the closest there is. On any given day either country can come out on top,” said Vale.
“The opportunities created by this exciting new competition will appeal to broadcasters, commercial sponsors, tourism and government partners alike, and we look forward to redefining the trans-Tasman rivalry over the next few years.”
It has been agreed that next year’s inaugural event will be in New Zealand with Australia set to host in 2017. Host venues will be announced in due course.