Stratford to stage Oceania Cup hockey tournament from October 28

Canada's Connor Grimes (L) fights off th

The Oceania Cup hockey tournament will be held at the TET Multisports Event Centre in Stratford in New Zealand from October 28 to November 3.

The tournament – organized by the Oceania Hockey Federation (OHF) – will attach a lot of significance for Indian hockey fans, who will be keen to know whether Australia or New Zealand manages to win the tournament. A title glory for Australia or New Zealand will ensure India’s passage to the 2014 World Cup, which is scheduled to be held at the Kyocera Stadium in the Hague, Netherlands from May 31 to June 15.

The seven-day event is an international men’s and women’s field hockey competition held every two years and assumes a lot of significance given the fact that the winning men’s and women’s teams seal an automatic berth in the World Cup and Summer Olympic Games.

But with the likes of Australia and New Zealand having already booked their World Cup berths, the tourney will be an opportunity for them to fine-tune their World Cup preparations. Of course, Indian hockey fans will be hoping for either of them to do the Blueshirts a big favour by winning the tournament.

Besides fine-tuning preparation for the 2014 World Cup, the event will renew the intense hockey rivalry between the Australia and New Zealand men’s and women’s teams.

As per the draw,the New Zealand men and women will lock horns with Australia, Samoa and Papua New Guinea in the Oceania Cup.

It may be mentioned here that the inaugural Oceania Cup was first held in 1999 in Brisbane, Australia.

Only hosts Australia and New Zealand took part in the men’s competition, playing six matches in that edition.

The Kookaburras won the first game 4-3 before drawing the second 1-1. The Aussies won the third game 3-1, before losing the fourth 2-3. The Kangaroos then thumped their Trans-Tasman rivals 6-0 and 5-3 in the fifth and sixth games respectively.

The inaugural women’s completion saw only Australia and New Zealand take part, featuring in three matches – The Hockeyroos beat the Black Sticks eves 4-0 in the first game before pipping them 2-0 in the second match. They won the third match 1-0.

The Oceania Hockey Federation (OHF) has traditionally rotated the Oceania Cup between Australia and New Zealand except for the 2005 edition, which was held in Suva, Fiji. In fact, Australia has hosted this event four times, while New Zealand have played hosts twice.

Australian men have won all the seven editions so far, while the Australian eves have won it four times, with New Zealand eves winning thrice.

Australian men and the New Zealand women won the last edition held in Hobart.

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