Hockey boost as Albany named host of national titles

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Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Lower Great Southern Hockey Association president Sam Brown.
Camera IconLower Great Southern Hockey Association president Sam Brown. Credit: Laurie Benson

A week-long taste of high-level hockey will be on show in Albany next year after last week’s announcement the city will play host to the 2020 Australian Country Hockey Championships.

In a major boost to the sport in the region, Albany will have a major hockey fixture for the first time in more than a decade as the week-long championships are played from August 8-15 next year.

Men’s and women’s teams from around Australia will converge on Albany, using the sole turf situated alongside the Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre.

New turf will be laid after the completion of the local hockey season this year in preparation for the marquee event.

Hockey Australia made the announcement last week in partnership with the City of Albany and the Lower Great Southern Hockey Association.

Former Hockeyroos striker Kathryn Slattery, who played as a junior in the LGSHA, has been the marquee player from the region in the past few years and the region has had a stack of State level representatives in recent times as well.

LGSHA president Sam Brown said this was a wonderful opportunity for hockey in the region.

“This event will be a real shot in the arm for the LGSHA and will expose our members to some very high quality hockey,” Brown said.

“We are very excited to be partnering with the City of Albany to showcase our facility, including our new turf, and our region as a whole.”

The championships are the premier representative event for top country players, and are also used as a selection tool for Australian country teams.

Both the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras have played fixtures in Narrogin in recent years but the national teams have not played in Albany, making this announcement even more significant.

HA chief executive Matt Favier said they were delighted to announce Albany as the host venue.

“The ratio of past and present Hockeyroos and Kookaburras athletes who hail from regional centres is amazing, showing that country hockey is the lifeblood of our game,” Favier said.

“Albany, as part of the Great Southern region, which has a fantastic hockey tradition, is a fitting host for this event and we look forward to this event.”

The 2019 championships will be held in Shepparton, Victoria from August 3-11 before they make a welcome return to WA in 2020.

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