If there were ever any doubts about the strength of Crookwell hockey, they were quickly dispelled during the recently concluded Under 13’s Boys and Girls national championship at Veolia Arena.
Crookwell fielded three players in the competition: Josh Evans and Sam McGregor for the ACT, and Mason Carney for the NSW Stars.
In the end, it was the NSW Stars who won the boys’ tournament, and Crookwell Indoor Hockey sub-committee president, Meghan McGregor, said that she was extremely proud of the effort put in by all three boys.
“This was their first indoor national championship,” she said.
“All three of them had just been to Hobart for outdoor hockey, [and] all three of them played at an exceptionally high level and were integral parts of their team.
“Crookwell hockey can be really proud, we’re not just making up numbers, we’ve got some really talented players coming through.”
Tournament director Nicola Ogden was thrilled with both the quality of the hockey that was played and the support shown by the crowd for the youngest age group at the festival.
“We tend to get more parents and spectators at the younger age groups … people are loving it here,” Ogden said.
“It is astounding how slick these kids can be with their stick skills, it’s phenomenal. [I’m] very impressed with them.”
Ogden, who was a manager of the Australian Indoor Hockey team for four years, said that Veolia Arena was one of the best facilities that she has visited.
The tournament is also an important opportunity for junior players to improve their skills, and Ogden said that she had already noticed an improvement in some of the players who took part in the 2018 festival and who have returned for this year’s edition.
“Indoor is now being taken more and more seriously within the hockey fraternity, and it’s seen as a great skills development opportunity for the younger set,” she said.
“They’re very keen to emulate their heroes. You’ll see a lot of these kids who are playing now come back at 18s, 21s and Opens to watch their heroes play.
“I can see the difference … the skills development between the players in the last 12 months has gone through the roof.”