SportSport

New world-class astroturf for NWU Hockey

The construction of a brand new Astroturf upgrade at NWU Hockey to international FIH standards is one of the exciting developments that will enhance the NWU Sports’ brand in 2019. The upgrade, which is estimated to cost around R9.5 million, will be worth every cent with the main vision of soon holding World Cup hockey …

The construction of a brand new Astroturf upgrade at NWU Hockey to international FIH standards is one of the exciting developments that will enhance the NWU Sports’ brand in 2019.

The upgrade, which is estimated to cost around R9.5 million, will be worth every cent with the main vision of soon holding World Cup hockey in Potchefstroom for the first time.

NWU Hockey has benefitted dramatically with the former SA Women’s and Men’s hockey coach and now current NWU Sport Director, Sheldon Rostron having an excellent reputation in hockey circles and a well-thought-out vision for this exciting new chapter.

‘We pride ourselves in our facilities at NWU Hockey. Hockey is a priority sporting code at the NWU and it is important to be able to play top-class hockey in a world-class venue that meets FIH (International Hockey Federation) standards. Another important consideration will be to make the venue an attractive option to visiting teams. We will focus largely on getting the local community involved,’ he said.
Rostron elucidated on some key factors that led to the upgrade of the Astroturf and the stadium, in general.

‘The turf needed to be better maintained after it started wearing out from regular use over the years. We do not want the wear and tear to make the playing surface dangerous. We also needed to upgrade the turf to blue which is the current industry standard and improve the seating too. With this upgrade, we will also be the first hockey venue in South Africa that will have two accredited blue (FIH) turfs,’ he enthused.

The lights at the astroturf will also be upgraded from the current 200 and 450 Lux lights to 1000 Lux level lights. This is mainly to improve the lighting for TV coverage at future hockey matches.

New water systems, netting, paving, storm water drains and mini-turf are also part of the package.
NWU Women’s hockey coach and North West Hockey Association president, Shaun Hulley, expressed his delight at the possibilities and opportunities the new astroturf will bring.

Shaun Hulley (NWU women's Hockey coach) and Sheldon Rostron (NWU sport Director) are looking forward to hosting international matches at the NWU Astroturf in 2019. The astroturf is currently under construction and, when completed in April, will be the only venue in South Africa that will have two blue FIH (International Hockey Federation) accredited astroturfs. Photo: Wouter Pienaar
Shaun Hulley (NWU women’s Hockey coach) and Sheldon Rostron (NWU sport Director) are looking forward to hosting international matches at the NWU Astroturf in 2019. The astroturf is currently under construction and, when completed in April, will be the only venue in South Africa that will have two blue FIH (International Hockey Federation) accredited astroturfs. Photo: Wouter Pienaar

‘We want the facility to be the best in the country. One of my dreams is to create a Friday Night Lights type of atmosphere at the Astroturf, where hockey will become one of the must-see sports in Potchefstroom,’ he said.

‘The focus is to grow the hockey fraternity in Potch. It is not only the upgraded facilities that will set NWU hockey apart but the whole hockey programme. Once the upgrade is completed, we want to try and set up a four- or five-nations tournament going forward and host Varsity Hockey matches in May,’ he added.

Another exciting prospect will be creating and building better relationships between NWU Sport and the FIH and other stakeholders to increase income.
‘The project started taking shape in September 2018 and we are hoping that the new Astroturfs will be finished in March/April 2019,’said Rostron.

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