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National Hockey League is back

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The National Hockey League (NAZ) is back after seven years in limbo.

This was the good news delivered by the Hockey Association of Zimbabwe yesterday following the acquisition of sponsorship from Ram Petroleum/Dharwizi Transport.

“The Hockey Association of Zimbabwe is pleased to announce that the National Hockey League resumes this coming weekend after a break of seven years.

The National League had been a major feature of hockey since its establishment in 1970,” read a Press statement. It was sponsored by Rothmans from 1970 to 1989 and by Lonrho from 1990-2000. Thereafter it was sponsored by Saltrama plastics until 2004. The collapse of the two national hockey stadia (Magamba and Khumalo) in Bulawayo in 2005, coupled with the tough economic environment at that time, saw the suspension of the national league.” With this support and new artificial pitches in Bulawayo and Harare, the HAZ has been able to resuscitate the national league, a significant boost for domestic hockey in Zimbabwe.
Games will be played at Arundel School in Harare,

Khumalo Hockey Stadium in Bulawayo while other games will be played in Chiredzi, the home ground of Hippo Valley Hockey Club.

The first set of matches kick off in Harare tomorrow and Sunday.

In the men’s section Hippo Valley take on Enthusiasts (EHC) from Harare while Bulawayo Athletic Club (BAC) face Old Georgians from Harare. BAC are also set to clash with EHC while Hippo Valley face Old Georgians.

BAC women meet Harare side Sunrise Ducks (SD) while BAC return to action against Chelsea Drifters from Harare in the women’s section.

BAC have won the league 24 times in the 48 years it has been played, including 11 consecutive wins from 1994 to 2004. They will be out to assert authority, but will find Hippo Valley a determined side to lift the 2012 Ram Petroleum/Dharwizi Transport National Hockey League title.

In the women’s league the Nicky Taylor-led BAC will be up against new Harare squad Sunrise Ducks and Chelsea Drifters.

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