Centres may be reduced to six

Andy McLean
Andy McLean
Proposed changes to the structure of hockey could mean Central and Northland are excluded from regional tournaments.

Hockey New Zealand wants to reduce the number of regional centres from eight to six.

Under the proposal, two of the regional centres would be based in Auckland while Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin would host the other centres.

The regional centres would be closely linked to the local associations within their catchment and would be funded through the regions, HNZ and High Performance Sport New Zealand.

Southern Hockey co-chairwoman Wendy Ryan could not be reached for comment but Otago Hockey Association general manager Andy McLean said it was too early to know what impact it would have on the structure of hockey in the South.

''The proposal does have a performance centre based in this area which, with our hat on, is positive,'' he said.

''Exactly what the final implications are, it is too early to say.

''How those performance centres are governed and managed is up for discussion.''

HNZ is in a consultation phase and has declined to comment until that process is complete.

But at face value the structure of top-level hockey in the South does not appear set to change much. It is the lower levels where there could be some angst.

''The proposal also suggests significant change to the current national tournament structure.

''They are proposing the Hatch and Collier - tournaments with longstanding tradition - would not continue under the proposal.

''It is the same with the under-15 tournaments. They would become about regional events with more players.

''But it is still in the discussion phase and nothing really concrete to hang our hat on at the moment.

''I'll certainly be following it with interest.''

The Southern Dogs have added Albany striker Nathan Gilbert to their squad but have lost local goalie Hamish van Dyke. He has been ruled out because of concussion issues and is yet to be replaced.

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