Black Sticks Women are set to play two tests against USA on the brand new turf at the Waimakariri Hockey Stadium in Rangiora next month.
Games on March 25 and 26 will also serve as the first time a New Zealand senior international team of any sport has played in North Canterbury.
It will be fitting celebration for the venue’s new turf, which is the same surface played on at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and was opened just last week.
The new turf was built by Polytan for the Waimakariri District Council, with its location on the north-east side of town becoming a sports hub, with cricket, football, golf, BMX, mountain biking, equestrian and polo facilities nearby, as well as the local high school of more than 1800 students.
The Black Sticks (ranked fifth in the world) are fresh off their test series against Argentina in Buenos Aires and will use these games against USA (ranked sixth) as valuable preparation for the Vantage Hawke’s Bay Cup the following weekend.
Canterbury Hockey chief executive Rod Templeton is excited to have the opportunity to bring top international hockey to the region.
“We are excited to showcase our Vantage Black Sticks Women against the highly ranked USA team in Canterbury.
“To be able to take the test matches to the Waimakariri District and its brand new turf is fantastic and only made possible because of the great support from the council, our local clubs (Rangiora & Hinemoa-Kaiapoi) and the North Canterbury Sports & Recreation Trust.
“With the tests being the weekend before our winter season starts, coupled with the new turf, we are really building towards a huge 2017 for Canterbury Hockey.”
The Waimakariri District has two local hockey clubs – Hinemoa-Kaiapoi Hockey Club and Rangiora Hockey Club – among the oldest in the country.
Kaiapoi was the first place in New Zealand to have both men’s and women’s hockey clubs, starting in 1895, and has maintained a grass playing turf on the same site in Kaiapoi Park for 120 years.
The Rangiora Hockey Club started in 1898 and rapid population growth in Rangiora and Waimakariri in recent years, in a large part due to displacement after the earthquakes, has seen huge growth in recent years.
Presale tickets for both tests will go on sale early next week through, with the Black Sticks team to compete in the series to be named in March.
VANTAGE BLACK STICKS WOMEN vs USA
Waimakariri Hockey Stadium, Rangiora
Saturday, March 25
3pm, Vantage Black Sticks Women v USA (Game One)
Sunday, March 26
3pm, Vantage Black Sticks Women v USA (Game Two)