New COVID Outbreak in New Zealand Delays Premier Hockey League

The inaugural Premier Hockey League has been postponed to November due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak in Auckland.

The new domestic league, originally scheduled to start on 20 August, will now be held in November with a start date to be confirmed. Club hockey finals and tertiary exams prevented a postponement to October.

Hockey New Zealand Performance Network Manager Simon Brill says it is disappointing to have to postpone the league but player safety has to come first.

“We needed to make sure players had enough time after lockdown to prepare for a pinnacle tournament which doubles as a selection event for the Vantage Black Sticks as they build towards next year’s postponed Tokyo Olympics,” says Brill.

“It also allows for the large contingent of student-athletes to prepare for their tertiary exams without the pressures of high-performance hockey.”

The eight-team (four men and four women), round-robin competition will be held at the new purpose-built National Hockey Centre in Albany, Auckland and matches will be free to attend.

All matches will be broadcast live on Sky Sport NEXT, SkyTV’s platform for more than 50 sports to showcase their events and athletes for free to all New Zealanders.

The exact dates of the league will be announced shortly.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

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