Can you tell us about format of the Hockey Masters Indoor World Cup?
We have 26 teams from 9 countries (Germany, England, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong) participating in Mens O40 and O50 and Womens O40 and O45 competitions. Indoor hockey is 6-a-side (with one person in goal) and is played with lighter sticks and a softer ball, compared to regular field hockey; but the premise is the same. It’s also much faster-paced than field hockey with matches consisting of two twenty minute halves. The tournament will be run over four days in two LCSD venues and also at the Hong Kong Football Club.
It’s coming to Hong Kong for the first time next month, what was the process of winning the bid to be the host city?
We submitted our bid in July 2017 to the International Masters Hockey Association and after some clarifications and deliberations, Hong Kong was awarded the event in December 2017 and the planning has been underway since then.
You needed several locations to host the 4-day tournament, tell us about how you worked with the Government to select your venues?
It was a challenge for sure but to get the space confirmed more than a year out from the event we met with the government and different LCSD venues to establish our best options.
Because most people weren’t familiar with indoor hockey we had to demonstrate it and explain exactly what we needed - this was very important because as the host we needed to maintain the standards set by the governing body.
Are you working with any sponsors or partners?
We have been helped with sponsorship from Regal Hotels, Knight Frank, Sports Direct and Jackel Porter to get the event underway as well as being supported by the Guv Dillon Foundation and MSB Concepts.
What's been your biggest challenge?
Finding venues of the right size – indoor hockey should be on a pitch 44m long, but there are very few venues of that size in Hong Kong and we have had to accept playing on shorter pitches.
What does this tournament bring in terms of benefits to Hong Kong?
We have close to 400 international players, officials and supporters coming to Hong Kong for a week who will be high spenders in the city, and the event will help to boost hockey in Hong Kong with the talent that will be on show.
Can the public come and watch? Do they need tickets?
The public are welcome to come and watch, and no tickets are required. You can check out the schedule via our website or by following our Facebook page.
How do you see hockey generally developing over the coming years?
Hockey is a great sport to play and is becoming a great game to watch. In Hong Kong we have some great players and sport is developing quickly with the introduction of innovative new ideas such as Hockey 5’s and the Pro League.
Official website: http://www.mastershockeyiwc.com