The Festival of Hockey is coming to Hawke’s Bay next month and we’re pretty excited about it. Big sporting events really bring a buzz to the Bay and provide exhilarating, live entertainment. We seem to like watching sports here, though we don’t often get the top level stuff. There is an extraordinary number of youngsters engaged in sport in the region, many of them at a very high level. These kids have support teams and fans. They might just be mum dad and their mates, but that’s a lot of people spending hours on the side-lines. (We know this because over winter they come in to Maina to warm up by the fire).

So to get a big tournament like the Festival of Hockey is something to celebrate. Even if your “code” is not hockey (your “code” is your sport, apparently) these will be thrilling games to watch. Fastest ball game in the world!

This tournament has our own NZ Women’s Black Sticks battling it out against leading world ranked international teams. This is a key event for these sides as they build up to the Rio Olympics. Black Sticks Women’s coach Mark Hager has injected a vast amount of experience back into his squad as he tests the players, mixes skills and finds the right balance for his Olympic squad. He has named his 18-strong squad already.

The competing teams are: Australia, China, Korea, Japan, India, Canada and Ireland. Get a sneak preview of the upcoming Olympic battle right here in Hawke’s Bay!

So why is Maina blogging about a hockey tournament? Well, it’s because we are hosting the Canadian girls. We are their restaurant for the duration of their stay, and hope we will get to know them pretty well.

Do come on down to Maina during the tournament, and if you run into the hockey girls, let’s make them welcome and give them your support.

And “Go the Black Sticks!” – Obviously!