The world’s largest field hockey tournament will take place in The Palm Beaches for the third consecutive year this November. USA Field Hockey (USAFH) will partner with the Palm Beach County Sports Commission to host the National Hockey Festival at the International Polo Club in Wellington over Thanksgiving weekend, from November 22 to November 25, 2018.
Over 150 teams, consisting of approximately 3,500 athletes and 7,000 visitors from the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean, will travel to Palm Beach County. The participating teams will contend for titles in female and male divisions, including girls age groups (Under 14, Under 16 and Under 19), boys age group (Under 17), co-ed age groups (Under 10 and Under 12), and adult age group (men & women). Over 500 field hockey games will take place during the National Hockey Festival, creating an extraordinary volume of competition.
The National Hockey Festival has a long and rich history with the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. Palm Beach County has been home to the National Hockey Festival on 11 previous occasions (most recently in 2017) and is the only Florida destination to host this event.
The International Polo Club is a remarkable venue that maintains 248 acres of land, consisting of nine (9) polo fields. This site was the critical ingredient in Palm Beach County’s successful bid. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission will layout nearly thirty (30) field hockey pitches over six polo fields to accommodate a high capacity of games. The partnership with the International Polo Club provides a competitive advantage for the Palm Beach County Sports Commission concerning recruiting and hosting major national and international sporting events.
The National Hockey Festival generates a tremendous economic and tourism impact. In 2017, this event delivered nearly $8 million of economic impact and nearly 10,000 hotel room nights. More than 40 hotels, located from Jupiter to Boca Raton, have been assembled to offer lodging for the National Hockey Festival’s participants. Field hockey athletes, coaches, and spectators will be occupying hotels countywide.
“The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is honored and excited to host USA Field Hockey and its National Hockey Festival for the third straight year,” said George Linley, Palm Beach County Sports Commission Executive Director. “The abundance of new dollars and rise in hotel occupancy will be welcomed by the hospitality and business community. Hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, and attractions from Jupiter to Boca Raton will experience a surge of business over Thanksgiving weekend. There are very few opportunities to host a single sports event that will create a countywide tourism impact.”
Thanksgiving is about traditions, stuffed turkeys, and football. However, the tradition is changing to include field hockey in The Palm Beaches. Don’t miss the National Hockey Festival, which provides a variety of festivities and a family-fun environment at the International Polo Club. The event is free and open to the public. The action starts Thursday, November 22 through Saturday, November 25 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. You do not want to miss this! For information, contact the Palm Beach County Sports Commission at (561) 233-3180.