More than 600 young hockey players will make their way to Armidale this weekend for the under 13 State Championships.
SportUNE will be the venue for the event across Friday, Saturday and Sunday where 36 boys teams, divided into four divisions, will battle for the trophy.
Hockey New England’s Peter Lye said it was a thrill for the local organisation to receive the right to host the event.
“We haven't had a junior carnival for sometime,” he said.
“There will be four divisions and New England has two teams in the competition, we've got one team in division one and one in division four.
“Tamworth will have two teams and one is in division one as well so there will that little cross-city rivalry between the New England and Tamworth.
“The competition will be really fast, especially in division one.
“It should be a good weekend and fingers crossed the weather is not going to be too miserable.”
The two turf fields at the university will be used and another grass one is to be set up.
Lye said there is extra excitement around this tournament because it is the youngest age group who compete for a state title.
“It's the first age group they can play under a HockeyNSW State Championship and then it goes 15s, 18s, 21s and Opens,” he said.
“The competition should be really good.”
He said the local talent could find themselves high among the standings at the end of the event.
“Division one is always tough and New England always finds we are there or thereabouts,” he said.
“I think these guys will do well but it won't be easy because there are regions that are very strong and they will have div one teams as well.
Teams will travel more than 10 hours to compete over the three days.
Lye said not only will local hockey benefit from hosting the tournament, businesses will reap the rewards.
“You are looking 600 players, under 13s boys, and then with parents and siblings you are looking at 1000 or more people coming into Armidale and the outlying areas,” he said.
“I'm sure a lot of eateries in Armidale are going to really experience a bit of a surge over the weekend.
“It is going to be a bit of an injection for some of the cafes and restaurants around town.”
Competition commences at 8am over the three days.