What will happen to the national tournaments in 2020?
National Hockey Championship
In 2020, the Ford NHL will become the National Hockey Championship which will be open to the 32 Associations throughout the country. The National Hockey Championship will be tiered, and like NHL, will take place in September each year. The purpose of the National Hockey Championship will be to find the top Association in each tier for that year, and to provide an opportunity for players to put their hands up for selection for a new High Performance Series.
Under-21 National Tournament
The Under-21 National Tournament will cease to exist in its present regional format, with a new competition still under development. The focus remains on ensuring continued performance pathways for players leaving the Under-18 age group and transitioning to senior level. Details of this competition, which will be held in July each year, are still being developed in consultation with associations.
Under-18 National Tournament
The Under-18 National Tournament will also shift back to an Association-based tournament from its existing regional format. This will enable all players to continue representing their local Associations through to school-leaving age, and train locally. As well as strengthening Association connections, it will put renewed emphasis on local development for players, coaches, umpires and officials.
High Performance Series
This proposed new event will be led by Hockey NZ, and aims to achieve the highest possible level of domestic competition. It will comprise nationally identified and invited players, and will provide an opportunity for participants to test themselves at a level that is just a step away from international hockey.
Will I still be able to play for my region?
From 2020 onwards you will play for your Association at Under-18 level and in the new National Hockey Championship.
So will the new competitions meet the high performance levels of the existing regional tournaments?
The regional competitions will be replaced with a High Performance Under-21 tournament and an open age High Performance Series. The strategy is to concentrate the talent and lift the standard of competition for identified high performance players – while having minimal impact on club and Association competition to support local growth.