After playing host to the NHL the previous two years Wellington will take their turn to host the 2019 Vantage National Under 18 Tournament. Beginning on the 7thJuly this tournament features the top rising talent playing hockey in New Zealand.
The Central Women will be aiming for the threepeat having taken home the Under 18 titles in 2017 and 2018. This year the Central side features Vantage Black Sticks Development Squad member Kaitlin Cotter, who will be supported in the Central squad by several players who have a lot of experience at this level. The Women’s competition is sure to be a tightly contested one with Auckland featuring recent Vantage Black Sticks call up Katie Doar in their squad. Doar will be looking to bring her international experience back to the Auckland side as she aims to help them improve on their 2018 bronze medal. The tournament will be played over six days and will feature all eight regions as they battle it out to be the top Under 18 Women’s regional team.
The Vantage National Under 18 Men’s tournament will see the home side Capital looking to back up their title that they won in 2018. The Capital Men’s teams have been on a roll lately having won the 2018 Under 18 and NHL tournaments. They then started the 2019 season by taking out the Under 21 title. The Capital side looks to be a vastly different one from the side that took out the 2018, several of the team is made up of the players that helped Wellington to win the 2018 Under 18 Association Tournament. Look out for last year’s bronze medalist Midlands who have been on a tear in the lead up matches and return the vast majority of their 2018 squad who will be hungry to go further in this year’s tournament. This year’s competition looks to be wide open with any of the eight squads looking capable of taking the title out if they have a good tournament.
Running at the same time of the Vantage National Under 18 tournament is the Association tournaments. Pukekohe will play host to the Men’s National Association Tournament where Wellington will be looking to defend their title from 2018. Timaru hosts the Women’s Association tournament which has Canterbury looking to back up their 2018 result.