Banbridge Hockey Club will host Round One of the European Hockey League (EHL) competition this October.
The news was confirmed today by the EHL and the European Hockey Federation. This competition, which includes teams from all over Europe, will be held at Havelock on 7th to 9th October 2016.
Welcoming the news, Banbridge Hockey Club President Sheree Totton said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the hosting of the EHL in October 2016. We have top class grounds and facilities at Banbridge Hockey Club and we look forward to hosting the EHL here and welcoming players and supporters from all over Europe to our club.
“Those competing in the competition will be the top teams from across Europe, with the potential for several Olympians from different nations being represented by the various competing clubs.
“It will be fantastic to have such talent on display here in Banbridge and will be a massive boost for our sport locally and indeed across the island of Ireland.”
Sheree praised the club’s recent efforts in hosting the EY Irish Hockey Champions Trophy finals weekend, which marked Banbridge Hockey Club out as a potential venue for the EHL.
“We recently hosted the EY Irish Hockey Champions Trophy finals weekend and the effort put in by the whole club during this event did not go unnoticed and we were subsequently considered as a potential venue for the EHL,” she said.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the club, the town and the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough. Players and supporters from clubs all over Europe will be coming to Banbridge to stay in our local area that weekend and therefore it will also be a great boost for local businesses.
“For those not travelling, the competition will be screened widely allowing us to promote Banbridge and Northern Ireland to tens of thousands of hockey fans across the continent and further afield.”
Sheree explained that a lot of hard work lay ahead to prepare for October’s event.
“Hosting a competition of this calibre will require a lot of work by the club and once again we will be asking our members to volunteer and help out with preparations before and during the competition,” she said.
“I would like to thank everyone in advance for their efforts and the club will now be working hard to ensure that we deliver a great event in October.”
The news comes on the back of confirmation that Ireland have been awarded a second spot in the European Hockey League resulting in Banbridge Hockey Club qualifying for the EHL.
Sheree added: “This comes on the back of news that our Men’s 1st XI have qualified for the EHL again; having home advantage will hopefully benefit the team during the weekend and will allow many more of our loyal supporters to watch the EHL game on home turf.”