The Nelson men’s hockey teams were a force to be reckoned with in the 2016 New Zealand Hockey Masters at Saxton Field last week.
The 35+ and 45+ men’s teams walked off the turf a little out of breath but with their heads held high after winning their hard-fought finals.
The Nelson Men’s 35+ team were tied 1-1 with Wellington at full time but dominated the penalty shoot out, winning 1-3.
Men’s 35+ manager, player and team organiser Marcel Stutz says it’s been a great week. “It’s been really good, we hadn’t really met each other until the first game on Monday morning, but we’ve really come together. We’ve got a few locals, some Marlborough boys, and a few Auckland guys, but we gelled really well and we’re all good guys and players, so that’s key.”
The Men’s 45+ team faced Auckland in their final and went home with a convincing 2-0 win, while the Women’s 35+ team also made the finals, receiving silver after a 5-0 defeat against Manawatu.
Nelson’s five other teams placed further back in the field, finishing between fourth and seventh in their age groups.
Tournament administrator Diane Proudfoot saw all the results pour in and says she’s seen some outstanding hockey over the past week.
“It’s great having so many teams up here, we’ve had some really good players and the Nelson teams have all really performed within their age groups,” says Diane.
“It’s been a pretty high standard with some very tightly fought matches. We had the Men’s 60+ final on Friday night and that was fantastic, there was a draw at the end so they had to go to penalty shoot out, it was amazing.
The tournament saw 69 teams from Northland to Canterbury and everywhere in between, with 1100 players descending on the Saxton Field turfs.
This is the second time Nelson has hosted the Hockey Masters and Diane says it certainly won’t be the last.
“It’s amazing to be able to open up the region and Nelson hockey to the rest of New Zealand, and a massive part of that is because of the local hockey community in Nelson. We will certainly look at having it back here again, it would be cool to think we could have it again in 2020. It’s the weather and the people that make a tournament and this has really been a great tournament.”