Hockey fanatic Brent Edwards hopes the experience of competing at the World Masters Games 2017 will encourage him and his team-mates to participate in future overseas events.
Edwards, immersed in the sport since the age of five, is hugely excited by the arrival of the multisport competition to Auckland and he insists it is an ideal opportunity to maintain his playing connection with the sport.
“For me, the biggest attraction of the World Masters Games is the chance to get a group of mates together, regardless of what region or area we come from, and form a team” explains Brent, 43. “It is great that we have the chance to catch up. We hope that the World Masters Games will be the start of something and that after this competition the core group of players in the team may wish to travel the world more regularly to play in tournaments.”
Growing up in Waikanae on the Kapiti Coast, Brent was introduced to the sport through his hockey-playing father and was quickly hooked on the game, which has given him a lifetime full of memories.
Aged 13 he and his family moved north to settle in Auckland, where he later featured as a right half in the first North Harbour team to take the National League title in 2000. He then later helped the region first win the National League crown as assistant coach and then head coach in 2004 and 2007, respectively.
Five years ago he was first introduced to masters hockey.
“I was working in marketing at Hockey NZ at the time and I was aware of people playing masters hockey,” explains Brent, who today runs his own hockey retail business Go Hockey and still turns out with “creaking knees” for the Takapuna Hockey Club “After receiving lots of positive feedback about what a lot of fun it is, I got quickly got involved and found I enjoyed it. It is a real nice mix of competitive hockey with a nice social side off the field.”
Playing at the last five NZ National Masters Hockey tournaments, in which Brent has featured three times in triumphant 40+ teams for North Harbour, he is looking forward to playing in a team at World Masters Games drawn from players across New Zealand.
Eligible to qualify for the 45+ tournament at World Masters Games in 2017 he does not yet know whether he will compete in 40+ or 45+ division in the open grade.
“First and foremost it will be a great reunion of old mates,” he adds of the Games. “If we win, we win, but I won’t lose any sleep if we don’t. We’ll compete in the open grade, although we might be more social than the social grade!” he adds with a joke.