IN THE RUNNING: The Oceania Cup Olympic qualifying event could bring the Kookaburras, including Murwillumbah’s Matthew Butturini, to Lismore in 2015.
IN THE RUNNING: The Oceania Cup Olympic qualifying event could bring the Kookaburras, including Murwillumbah’s Matthew Butturini, to Lismore in 2015. Daniel Carsondcimagesorg

Bid to have Olympic qualifying hockey event held at Lismore

LISMORE City Council is liaising with Hockey Australia as it explores a proposal to bring the 2015 Oceania Cup Olympic qualifying event to the region.

Council tourism co-ordinator Mitch Lowe said the move however was far from set in stone.

"We're exploring whether it's a good fit for Lismore and whether the State Government will come to the table regarding funding," he said.

"We're definitely interested in exploring the opportunity but there is a few things we need to work on before our submission."

Lowe said council is examining potential hosting fees and whether the city has the amenities and capability to hold the tournament.

"The Far North Coast region is really well known for its hockey," he said.

"So if we believe this matches up with our other events and it's beneficial to the local community we'll keep going with it."

Far North Coast Hockey president Clint Mallett said hockey clubs across the region were excited by the proposal.

"We don't consider it guaranteed yet though," he said.

"We haven't got a lot of detail about it but we'll take any exposure to broadcast our game in any way we can."

The Oceania Cup is the continental championship for the Oceania region and acts as an official qualifying tournament for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"No one should underestimate the importance of this event, being the Olympic qualifier, and being able to give the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos home country advantage is important," Hockey Australia chief executive Cam Vale said.

"This is an event that is arguably suited to a strong regional city, as proven when (Stratford) New Zealand hosted it in 2013 and put forward an outstanding event."

The Stratford event generated more than $1m in economic activity for the region, according to Hockey Australia.

Australia last hosted the biennial tournament in Hobart in 2011.



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