Albany scores hockey nationals

By David Kavanagh | posted on June 7, 2019

HOCKEY players from across the nation will converge on Albany later next year when the town hosts the Australian Country Hockey Championships for the first time in its history.

The event will see the best players from regional areas of every state compete at multiple matches over an entire week and will coincide with the completed resurfacing of the Lower Great
Southern Hockey Association’s (LGSHA) hockey pitch.

LGSHA President Sam Brown said Albany was the perfect location for such a major tournament, especially with the new pitch.

“Albany is the biggest place down here for hockey,” he said.

“The fact we’re getting a new turf installed for next season, that’s probably one of the major reasons why we got to host the event. It will be of international standard and be great.

“In addition to the facility, I think it’s everything Albany has to offer in terms of a tourist destination … it’s the whole package.”

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said the new turf would be jointly funded by the City and the Federal Government.

“Hockey in Albany attracts an incredible number of participants and some of our players, like Kathryn Slattery, have gone on to represent Australia,” he said.

“[The new turf] will provide a state-of-the-art facility for hockey in our region that will continue to support player development.”

The first Championships were held in 1982 as a men’s only competition.

Hockey Australia Country Convenor Michael Nelson said local players would benefit when Albany hosted next year’s round of the tournament.

“It is an exciting opportunity for the association to highlight our sport in the region,” he said.

“The Championships will provide locals with an opportunity to witness national hockey on their local turf and provide administrators and aspiring players a first-hand experience of such a standard.”

The Albany tournament will run next year from August 8 to 15.

This year’s Championships are set to take place in Shepparton, Victoria.