Taupo to host two Black Sticks hockey tests
The Black Sticks women will play two tests against China in Taupo as they build towards this year's World Cup in Holland.
New Zealand will host seventh-ranked China at the Great Lake Taupo Hockey Club at Hickling Park on March 31 and April 1, with both games to start at 6pm.
The Black Sticks Women are currently in San Diego playing tests against Great Britain and the United States, and head coach Mark Hager says the tests against China will help continue their build-up to the Hawke's Bay Festival in April and the World Cup.
"We really enjoy playing tests in the smaller communities as the support we get is always fantastic. China is a quality side and we expect the games to be really competitive," Hager said.
The Black Sticks Women have never played a game in Taupo and the Black Sticks Men have only played there once, winning 2-1 against Malaysia in 2009.
Taupo District Mayor David Trewavas said securing the two test matches was a coup for the district.
"We have great facilities for hockey in Taupo and the investment in the turf, which the community contributed to both through rates and fundraising, is now paying dividends," he said.
"These games will be a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal with the Black Sticks and I encourage everyone to support the event and enjoy international hockey at its best."
Hockey New Zealand's event manager Richard Palmer says this will be a fantastic event to bring the whole family to.
"We are deliberately keeping the tickets affordable and there will be family passes available. We encourage families to come along, buy some dinner there and make a night of it. It's a chance for the Taupo community to experience live international hockey in their own backyard."
Tickets can be purchased through gate sales, and are $5 for kids and $10 for adults, with discounted family and double test passes available.