The New Zealand Inline Hockey Association hosts their annual National Championships in Wanganui, starting September 25th at the Jubilee Stadium in Springvale Park.
The event is held over nine days and will host 54 teams from throughout New Zealand competing in different age grade divisions. Each division competes in a round robin or pool play format to determine the overall winners.
The association has hosted this annual event for 15 years in various stadiums around the country, including Taupo, New Plymouth, Palmerston North. Wanganui has hosted the event in the past and the 650 competitors arriving in Wanganui for the event will look forward to competing at the Jubilee once again in 2010.
The event offers "free spectator entry" and promises an exciting action packed experience for all. The doors open for competition daily from 8am with younger grades competing earlier in the day. The older divisions compete through until 11.30pm each night. The schedule will have games playing all day, every day with games taking 55 minutes each.
The teams entered have played in their local regional leagues for the past five months with the top two teams in each grade from each region gaining entry to attend the national championship.
Inline Hockey is a developing sport in New Zealand, similar to ice hockey but played on inline skates specifically developed for inline hockey. Equipment required is specialised for the sport and spectators will be able to view products on site manufactured by Reebok, Bauer, CCM Sport, Mission and a range of other brands.
Many areas around the country are offering inline hockey as a team sport to interested players of all ages. There are now several school leagues organised by local clubs in various regions.
New Zealand participate at international level and hosted the 2010 Oceania Inline Hockey Championships against Australia in New Plymouth in April. New Zealand won gold in seven of the nine grades competed.
More recently The New Zealand 18 & Under team and New Zealand Junior Women travelled to Los Angeles to compete at the AAU Junior Olympics returning home with silver medals in the international divisions.
National Championships promises to provide an exciting opportunity for spectators to view the best players in the country compete for their club teams for national honours.
If you are interested in finding out more about this exciting sport, contact the association through their website (www.inlinehockeynz.org.nz) and you will be directed to a club in your area.