Empire Polo Club hosts National Hockey Festival
Empire Polo Club welcomes USA Field Hockey participants Nov. 26-29 when the sport’s national governing body conducts its annual National Hockey Festival on the fields of the region’s largest special eventsLive facility.
The National Hockey Festival joins 4,000 athletes from the U.S., Canada and Zimbabwe this year competing for titles in the Women’s Age Group (Under 16 and Under 19), Women’s Open and Mixed (co-ed) divisions and will also feature a four-team Boys (Under 16) division.
The Under 19 tournament is the Festival’s largest division competing for pool championships. In addition to providing a showcase for the sport and the chance for athletes to compete against players from across the country, the Festival allows prospective college athletes an opportunity to perform before a gallery of collegiate coaches gathered from some of the nation’s top programs.
The Mixed division features members of the USA Field Hockey Men’s and Women’s National Teams: 2008 Olympian Lauren Powley highlights the True North team that also features current National Team members Arjan Reyatt, Jarred Martin and Brian Schledorn. Members of both national teams are featured on the Pelicano’s team including Caroline Blaum and Jon Ginolfi.
In the Open Division, another 2008 Olympian, defender Lauren Crandall provides a solid backline for the Detroit Club, and Dana Sensenig runs with Red Rose, and National team goalkeeper Barb Weinberg mans the cage for Team Hawkeye.
“We are very pleased to have been selected as the host venue of the Field Hockey Festival for the seventh year,” said Robert del Mas, Empire Polo Club manager. “The fields are beautiful and in perfect condition for this sporting event, following a major resurfacing project we completed over the summer.”
Called the world’s largest amateur field hockey event, the National Hockey Festival joins more than 4,000 athletes on 225 teams from 24 states, Canada and Zimbabwe. A total of 732 games will be played on 26 fields during the festival.
“Empire Polo Club is such a wonderful venue,” said USA Field Hockey’s Director of Event Logistics Karen Collins. “The fields are excellent and the weather is beautiful. The players, the parents, the officials–everyone always looks forward to spending their Thanksgiving in Indio.”
Competitions run daily from 7 a.m. with finals at 3 p.m. through Saturday. On Sunday, games begin at 8 a.m. and finals begin at noon, followed by an awards ceremony. Admission is free and parking at the Empire Polo Club is available for a daily fee.
USA Field Hockey is the National Governing Body for the sport of field hockey as recognized by the United States Olympic Committee, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). USA Field Hockey is responsible for the training and selection of athletes for international competition as well as the promotion and development of the game of field hockey in the United States.
The Empire Polo Club (www.empirepoloclub.net) is the region’s premier event destination featuring six diverse venues situated on a thriving, sustainable oasis of palms, plant life and five polo fields. The 225-acre property offers the signature Medjhool Lake, Tiki Hut and Sculpture Garden, The Rose Garden and Pavilion, The Forum with its tiered terraced space, the majestic Hacienda del Toro and The Tack Room Tavern bar and restaurant.