International hockey will be returning to Stratford this October and November as the Vantage Black Sticks Men will be heading down to play Japan in a four-test series on October 10th, 12th, 14th and 15th. This will serve as a warmup for when the New Zealand side will return to Stratford on November 2nd and 3rd when they take on the world number 16 ranked Korea. The Korean series is the final opportunity for both sides to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The last time the Vantage Black Sticks Men played down in Stratford was all the way back in 2015 when Stratford played host to the Oceania Cup where New Zealand lost narrowly in the final 3-2 to Australia.
The Vantage Black Sticks Women booked their place at Tokyo with a one all draw with world number two Australia in the Oceania Cup from Rockhampton. The New Zealand Men were unable to match the feat of the women and now will need to beat a difficult Korea side to qualify for the games.
Hockey New Zealand CEO Ian Francis stated “It is exciting to bring international hockey back to the Taranaki region. The local support that the Vantage Black Sticks receive in this area is huge and is going to be essential in helping our men qualify for the Olympic Games”.
The last time that the Vantage Black Sticks Met Korea in New Zealand was prior to the Rio Olympics in 2016. New Zealand would go on to win that series with two wins and two draws from the four test series.
Tickets for the matches against Japan are on sale now through Dash Tickets. Friday 13th September will see tickets for the important Olympic Qualifying event will go on sale
10 OCT | Vantage Black Sticks Men vs Japan | 6:00pm
12 OCT | Vantage Black Sticks Men vs Japan | 1:30pm
14 OCT | Vantage Black Sticks Men vs Japan | 6:00pm
15 OCT | Vantage Black Sticks Men vs Japan | 6:00pm
2 NOV | Vantage Black Sticks Men vs Korea - 3:00pm | Olympic Qualifier
3 NOV | Vantage Black Sticks Men vs Korea - 3:00pm | Olympic Qualifier