The Vantage National Under-18 Tournaments are underway on Sunday and will see the return of Association-based competitions for the first time in over a decade.
The National Under-18s, which run from Sunday until 17 July, are now the first age-group tournament opportunities for players, umpires, coaches and managers to perform on the national stage.
The National Under-18 Women’s Tournament will see 21 Association teams descend on the National Hockey Stadium in Wellington to compete for the Amanda Hooper Memorial Trophy – named after the former Black Stick who was tragically killed in the Christchurch earthquake.
The National Under-18 Men’s Tournament at Hamilton’s Gallagher Hockey Centre will feature 20 Association teams competing for the Paul Ackerley Memorial Trophy – named after the 1976 Olympic gold medallist and former Black Sticks women’s coach who passed away in 2011 after a short illness.
Hockey NZ General Manager Community Hockey and Events Ken Maplesden said it will be great to see our top youth players going head-to-head after last year’s representative tournaments were cancelled due to Covid-19.
“Our national under-18s are our pinnacle youth competitions as our best Association-based teams strive to be named national champions.
“The tournaments are a fabulous opportunity for players to stick their hands up on the national stage, and for our youth umpires to begin their pathways into elite umpiring.”