Men’s, women’s transtasman series first in 14 months

International hockey is set to return to New Zealand.

New Zealand and Australia will go head-to-head in a transtasman series in Palmerston North, starting in three weeks.

It will be the first international hockey staged in this country since the FIH Pro League was interrupted by Covid-19 in March 2020.

The four-match series for both men and women will be the final selection event before the two countries name their teams for the Tokyo Olympics.

The games are scheduled from May 27, 28 and 30 and June 1.

Hockey New Zealand chief executive Anthony Crummy said the two nations had been working together on setting up a series since the transtasman bubble was announced.

"It’s really pleasing to see the willingness from both countries to do what it takes to make this series happen so quickly and ensure our Tokyo-bound Vantage Black Sticks have world-class opposition as the Olympic countdown begins," Crummy said.

"Given the unfortunate 14-month hiatus in international hockey for both teams, this series will be vital as both a selection event and in our final preparations for Tokyo."

Crummy said Palmerston North was chosen as the host city for the series because it offered flexibility if there was a change in Covid alert levels.

"The playing surface at Massey University is also the same as the one in Tokyo, and we’ve received phenomenal support from Hockey Manawatu and the wider community to pull this together in such a short timeframe."

The two nations are also working to confirm dates for their postponed FIH Pro League matches.

The Black Sticks squads of 18 for the Tokyo Olympics will be named in the week following the transtasman series.

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