Hockey Australia (HA) today announces that Shepparton, Victoria, will host the 2019 Australian Country Hockey Championships in August.
The Championships, which will run from August 3-11 at the Shepparton Sports City, have been secured in partnership with the Greater Shepparton City Council.
The event, which was first played as a men’s only competition in 1982, will bring together 12 teams across both genders, with approximately 250 participants plus supporters.
Goulburn Valley Hockey Association will also help facilitate the event in Shepparton, which previously hosted the Australian Country Hockey Championships in 1997 when it was a men’s only tournament.
Hockey Australia CEO Matt Favier said: “We’re delighted to make this announcement following the conclusion of another successful Australian Country Hockey Championships in Berri.
“It’s remarkable how many of our national Hockeyroos and Kookaburras athletes originate from regional centres, showing that country hockey is the lifeblood of our game.
“Shepparton, like so many regional cities in Australia, has a genuine history with Hockey and we are thrilled to be able to host this event, which brings so many people together, at such a venue.
“The Championships will be eagerly contested as always with selection for Australian representative country teams up for grabs too, so this promises to be a great tournament.”
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Kim O’Keeffe said: “It is wonderful that Greater Shepparton is able to host yet another fabulous national event in our region.
“Bringing so many people from around Australia to play hockey at our new $21 million Shepparton Sports City facility has enabled us to host amazing events such as these.
“Events such as these are fantastic to strengthen our reputation as the sporting event capital of regional Australia and keeping the local economy strong and businesses busy.
“We look forward to partnering with Hockey Australia and the Goulburn Valley Hockey Association to deliver a first class event for all our visitors.”
Hockey Australia Country Convenor Michael Nelson said: “The Australian Country Hockey Championship is the premier representative event for elite country players at which the quality of regional hockey is on display in what is a very exciting and top level competition.
“The Championships provide a unique opportunity for our sport to be showcased at a ‘national level’ in a regional location such as Shepparton, which is a highlight for the sport in the region.
“The selection of Australian Country representative teams at the Championships is a special feature of the event and acknowledges the skills and endeavour of those representing their respective states.”
The Australian Country representative teams – men’s and women’s senior teams and Under-21 men’s and women’s teams – will be selected based on performances at the Australian Country Hockey Championships.
The Australian Country Under-21s will tour Fiji and the Australian Country Seniors will tour China and Hong Kong.