The future of hockey in Dubbo looks bright after the newly-upgraded playing surface at Pioneer Park was given the tick of approval.
Sunday marked the first time the field, standing out due to it’s bright blue and pink colours, had been used since the completion of a $400,000 upgrade, one which has the facility up to international standard.
Some of the region’s most exciting talents tested it out during a Centre of Development (CoD) training day and there was plenty of positive comments from players and coaches alike.
“It’s fantastic. It’s been a long wait and to have it at this standard is really good,” Dubbo Hockey Association secretary Vanessa Brown said.
“It means the quality of play will be better. Turf normally lasts for a number of years so if you weren’t here playing each week you wouldn’t have known just how run down it had become over more than 10 years.
“So to have this new surface finally completed is like putting on a new pair of shoes.”
The biggest benefit of the upgrade is the fact local players can now know what to expect when paying at a higher level.
The slick new surface makes quality play much more easy and by making local competition better there is every chance even more Dubbo players can advance to representative teams.
“When kids go away to play these are the surfaces they play on so to be able to practice on the same type of surface here will improve their game,” Brown said.
“Hopefully that means we’ll see more representative players go bigger and better.”
While there’s a chance the new surface at Pioneer Park could also attract high-class matches to be played at Dubbo it is unlikely any major carnivals will be played in the city as that generally requires more than one field.
“But the surface can definitely attract competitions which don’t require two surfaces,” Brown added, before speaking about the CoD juniors.
“The kids that are out here now have been playing on surfaces like this throughout the central west in the off-season and a lot of these kids compete at a state and national level.
“They’re the ones who have seen all the surfaces so for them to come here and use it and to already be saying it’s great is a very big positive and a step in the right direction.”
The CoD camp also offered a number of local juniors to continue their progress.
The next big day for Pioneer Park will be the Dubbo Hockey Association (DHA) open day on March 17.
Following that there will be a number of free come-and-try clinics for under 12 players.
Brown added the DHA is keen to work with other sports to ensure any interested youngsters get the opportunity to try hockey.