Harbour City to contest both premier one finals
Harbour City hockey club has stamped its mark on the Wellington scene this season and both its men's and women's premier one sides will contest finals at the National Hockey Stadium in Newtown today.
Harbour City are matched against two Hutt Valley-based teams, with the men squaring off against Hutt and the women challenging last year's runners-up Eastern Hutt.
Harbour City men will seek redemption after losing last year's final, and after a turbulent season battling against Hutt they will be looking for a win today.
On paper, Harbour look formidable, with the experienced Scott Falconer leading the pack as player/coach.
Alongside him are National Hockey League players Jake Smith, Tim Gyles, Jared Jones and goalkeeper Kevin Bellman, as well as two Junior Black Sticks players, Matt Symonds and Gabe Kepes.
However, Hutt have been the underdogs of the men's competition, with a youthful makeup including eight under-21 players who have surprised opposition teams this season.
They have proved almost untouchable and at one stage sat on a 10-game unbeaten streak.
Matching Harbour, they have two Junior Black Sticks of their own, with Ben van Woerkom and Scott Kearney, as well as Scott Barnett, Joel Baker and Iain McPeake all playing NHL.
The teams are evenly matched and Hutt have won two of the three games they've played so far this season.
For Harbour City women, this is their first time in the finals mix in years.
Coach Tim Gyles has been involved with Harbour City for 13 years and and can't remember the last time the women's team was in the running for top placing.
Harbour's youthful side have a pacy forward line and between their sprinkling of Junior Black Sticks, some goal-scoring magic is bound to happen.
But Eastern Hutt possess their own big guns including promising National Hockey League players Kirsty Cole, Aniwaka Roberts, Rachel Landers and Casey Haumaha.
Holding the fort in goal is NHL keeper Dani Deans, and with more than 100 international caps to her name, retired Black Stick Niniwa Roberts should provide some dangerous strike force up front.
These sides have met three times so far this season with a win, loss and draw apiece.
The Dominion Post