While a younger generation of hockey players shine at the Commonwealth Games, a Lithgow Golden Oldies hockey team is taking on the world in Christchurch as part of an international sporting event with a difference.
With their brightly coloured outfits and on-field enthusiasm more important than age or agility, the Lithgow Steamers are joining some 5,000 senior sports enthusiasts for the Christchurch Casino Golden Oldies Sports Celebration 2018, running from April 1 – 29.
Team manager Denise Weekes says the team have been part of the Golden Oldies movement since 1997 and have played at festivals all over the world.
“We are a group of good friends who love the game and enjoy each other’s company,” Ms Weekes says. “As a team we have been travelling the world to attend Golden Oldies Festivals since 1997.”
Ms Weekes says the Steamers made their Golden Oldies debut at the 1997 Golden Oldies World Hockey Festival in Dublin, Ireland and their love of the game has taken them to Vancouver, Fiji, Edinburgh, Hawaii, The Netherlands and Cape Town.
“We travel as a mixed team and thoroughly enjoy the experiences provided by travelling the world to play a sport we all love, and cherish the numerous friendships we have made along the way and we look forward to participating in many more festivals to come,” she says.
Organised by Vintage Sport and Leisure with the support of city promotions agency ChristchurchNZ, the Christchurch festival is the first time in history multiple Golden Oldies sports have been played in the same city.
ChristchurchNZ General Manager of Attraction Linda Falwasser says the iconic sporting event is a fantastic opportunity for visitors to Christchurch to check out the city’s many attractions.
The Steamers have got their holiday agenda sorted and in between playing hockey and catching up with old friends, they’ll be taking in the sights and sounds of Christchurch.
“We will also be exploring the City, punting down the Avon River, visiting the Botanical Gardens, taking a ride on the Christchurch Gondola and taking a trip on the Heritage Tram,” Ms Weekes says.
Hockey Week runs from April 15 – 22 and is the third sport in the Christchurch Casino Golden Oldies Sports Celebration’s six-sport programme, which includes cricket, netball, golf, rugby and lawn bowls and around 5,000 players and supporters across the month-long sports celebration.