After its first completed tournament, the 2019 Australian Indoor Hockey Festival in Goulburn has proven to be at least as popular as the 2018 edition, with a strong turnout of hockey fans to watch the Under 13 Boys’ and Girls’ National Championships.
Hundreds of spectators from all over Australia turned out to watch and support their respective teams, and attendance levels are expected to continue throughout the competition’s three week duration.
Tournament director Nicola Ogden is thrilled with both the quality of the hockey that has been played and the support shown by the crowd for the youngest age group at the festival.
“We tend to get more parents and spectators at the younger age groups … people are loving it here,” Ogden said.
“It is astounding how slick these kids can be with their stick skills, it’s phenomenal. [I’m] very impressed with them.”
Ogden, who was a manager of the Australian Indoor Hockey team for four years, said that Veolia Arena was one of the best facilities that she has visited, and said that the quality of the venue had a large impact on the quality of hockey that is played.
“If it’s like 39 degrees outside and in here if feels like it’s about 28, it’s a big difference,” she said.
“It helps sustain the players, so they can maintain peak performance for longer. Because they’re not worried about heat exhaustion, [and] they can keep their fluids up.”
The tournament is also an important opportunity for junior players to improve their skills, and Ogden said that she had already noticed an improvement in some of the players who took part in the 2018 festival and who have returned for this year’s edition.
“Indoor is now being taken more and more seriously within the hockey fraternity, and it’s seen as a great skills development opportunity for the younger set,” she said.
“They’re very keen to emulate their heroes. You’ll see a lot of these kids who are playing now come back at 18s, 21s and Opens to watch their heroes play.
“I can see the difference … the skills development between the players in the last 12 months has gone through the roof.”
Following the conclusion of the Under 13’s, the Under 15's will begin today.
For all the latest draws and scores, visit https://hockeyaustralia.altiusrt.com/competitions?view=all.