The 2013 National Hockey Festival presented by CranBarry kicks off tomorrow at the International Polo Club in Palm Beach County, Fla. The National Hockey Festival has become the world’s largest amateur field hockey event, attracting more than 4,000 athletes from across the United States, Canada, and Europe to compete over the Thanksgiving holiday. The event runs November 28 to December 1, and will attract nearly 8,000 visitors to the local area.
“Festival is truly a unique event and the largest of its kind,” said Karen Collins, USA Field Hockey Director of Events and Logistics. “We are excited to be in Palm Beach County and are looking forward to a great weekend of sunshine and competitive hockey. This year, we have incorporated additional elements to make the experience more premier, entertaining and enjoyable for all.”
In total, 196 Under-16 and Under-19 teams in 28 pools will compete at the 2013 National Hockey Festival held on the pristine polo fields of the International Polo Club. An additional 16 Mixed-Adult and Women’s teams will add to the excitement and elevate the overall level of play.
2013 marks the introduction of the highly anticipated Under-14 girls division at Festival. Opening the younger division represents one of many initiatives by USA Field Hockey to progress the game toward becoming a lifetime sport in the United States. The new division allows younger athletes the opportunity to participate in the field hockey community’s celebration of the game, rather than simply watching their older siblings play. Forty-two Under-14 teams in six pools will compete to be crowned a champion.
“Festival is about celebrating our sport and spending a holiday weekend with family and friends while playing the game we all love,” said Steve Locke, Executive Director for USA Field Hockey. “We are excited to have more families join us in Palm Beach County this year for what will be another exciting holiday weekend filled with hockey.”
This year’s Festival is also packed with activities beyond game play. Many free clinics and seminars will be taking place over the course of the next three days for Festival participants of all ages. Events range from youth clinics to rulebook seminars to adult open play. Refer to the usafieldhockey.com Festival page for a complete list and times.
With all of the memories sure to be made at this year’s National Hockey Festival, USA Field Hockey is seeking individuals who have a talent for taking photographs to assist in capturing the “A Day in the Life at Festival” collection for use on usafieldhockey.com and in FHLife. For those who are inclined, photographs must be of high resolution (minimum size 3000x 4000 pixels) that capture universal, timeless images of what surrounds the sport, before one steps onto the field and after the final whistle blows. Images can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the latest announcements, schedules, scores, and all things Festival, regularly check usafieldhockey.com.