Greater Shepparton to host Premier League fixtures

Hockey Victoria will bring one of its marquee fixtures involving Essendon Hockey and Altona Hockey Club to Greater Shepparton on Saturday 20 July.

A total of 200 of players, coaches and officials from the two clubs will take to the hockey complex at Shepparton Sports City.

Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Councillor Kim O’Keeffe was pleased to see the event come to the region.

“It is fantastic for Greater Shepparton to be hosting an event such as this, continuing to showcase the municipality as regional Australia’s sporting event capital and also showcases our wonderful facilities at Shepparton Sports City,” Cr O’Keeffe said.

Hockey Victoria Chief Operating Officer Sash Herceg said they were delighted to be bringing such a high standard fixture to the region to showcase the sport and the opportunities available for young players in regional cities.

“We are thrilled to be taking Premier League matches to regional Victoria again. While Shepparton is the only regional city that will host Premier League matches in 2019, we are already working with other regional cities, as well as our clubs on expanding the regional Premier League fixture across Victoria,” Mr Herceg said.

Essendon Hockey Chairperson Karen Fogarty said the club was certainly looking forward to coming to Shepparton, especially given it has links to the region through their players.

“Essendon Hockey is excited to be part of this initiative to bring Premier League hockey to regional Victoria. There are plenty of us at Essendon who are originally from country Victoria and we are proud to be involved in a regional event. We value the kilometres that past and current Essendon players from the Goulburn Valley put in to play each week and are happy to take our turn in heading up the highway! We are looking forward to a great day with Altona and Shepparton hockey supporters,” she said.

Altona President Steve Ritchie said it would be fitting to come to Shepparton and recognise someone of their most decorated players who are from the region. t

“We are grateful for the opportunity to showcase our sport and give something back to the region. Altona has always had strong ties to Goulburn Valley hockey. I grew up in Shepparton and some of our most decorated players, Matthew Higgins and Matthew Guest were born and bred in the region.”

Goulburn Valley Hockey Association (GVHA) President Cam Druitt said this would be an exciting opportunity for them to host this event ahead of the Hockey Australia Country Championships in August.

“The GVHA warmly welcomes Altona and Essendon Hockey to Shepparton to compete in Premier League competitions. It is an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of past GV players to these clubs, in particular Matthew Higgins at Altona. It is also an opportunity for current day GV players to play for their Melbourne club at the home of GV Hockey. We believe we have a facility that can host such an event to a high standard and welcome all to attend and enjoy the matches,” he said.

The matches get underway from 12.30pm Saturday at the Shepparton Sport City precinct. Entry is free of charge and council invites the whole community to attend.

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