COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Following an extensive review process, USA Field Hockey is excited to announce that the 38th National Hockey Festival will be hosted in beautiful Tampa, Fla. from November 28-30, 2019! After a very qualified pool of applicants were evaluated, USA Field Hockey is proud to start a new relationship with the experienced staff of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, Visit Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County Tournament SportsPlex to deliver this storied program.
The Hillsborough County Tournament SportsPlex, a new 15-field tournament venue, will feature Celebration Bermudagrass® turf, fully lit LED fields and on-site parking. This state-of-the-art venue is managed year-round by the Tampa Sports Authority (TSA), who also manages Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and several golf courses around the Bay area. The TSA’s professional grounds team will deliver a competition surface quality that will be second to none.
"Moving to a new location in 2019 will give our event participants a great, but difference experience," said Simon Hoskins, USA Field Hockey's Executive Director. "The National Hockey Festival has never been played in Tampa before and USA Field Hockey is excited to be working directly with the CVB and the Hillsborough County Tournament SportsPlex to make sure it is a success."
The National Hockey Festival is projected to draw 3,000 athletes, 175 teams, 450 coaches, 300 club coaches, and 4,500 spectators, fans and families and more than 100 colleges. The event is estimated to generate more than 8,500 hotel visitor room nights next November. The National Hockey Festival is expected to be the largest outdoor non-traditional amateur sporting event ever hosted in Hillsborough County.
“The SportsPlex fills a void in our world class sports community and the goal was to attract marquee organizations such as USA Field Hockey to our area,” said Eric Hart, President/CEO of the Tampa Sport Authority. “TSA is proud to manage this venue and welcomes the National Hockey Festival to the SportsPlex.”
One of the major reasons USA Field Hockey selected Tampa Bay was the fact that the destination boasts a well-established city infrastructure and a colorful array of hotels, restaurants and entertainment experiences that will deliver a well-rounded and memorable destination experience for all participants. Supported by a strong airport with more than 83 nonstop routes and 21 carriers, Festival participants will be able to find convenient and affordable flights that will place them within 15 minutes of the majority of major hotel brands and 30 minutes of the competition venue. Click here to review additional resources on the Tampa International Airport.
“Aside from having a strong venue asset that is fit for field hockey, we are very excited about the prospect of hosting Festival in a city that is so accessible and affordable for visitors,” said Justin Miller, USA Field Hockey’s Events and Club Services Manager. “We are thrilled to be working with a destination partner that will be able to help us deliver an affordable and convenient destination experience for our tournament participants. The design to have a visitor’s destination airport, hotel and competition venue within a 30-minute radius is well planned and the community is eager to make our constituents feel at home.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with USA Field Hockey to host their flagship event next November,” said Rob Higgins, Tampa Bay Sports Commission Executive Director. “We believe the SportsPlex of Tampa Bay is a true game-changer in the sports tourism industry and being awarded their 2019 National Hockey Festival strongly validates the importance and potential of this facility. Combining a major asset like this venue with all that our destination affords, raises our community’s profile to a level that will allow us to compete for the biggest and best youth and amateur tournaments and championships in the country. Our team is looking forward to working with the Tampa Sports Authority to ensure all USA Field Hockey teams and their families are treated to an unforgettable experience in Tampa Bay.”
With registration anticipated to open at the beginning of March 2019, all USA Field Hockey Member Clubs should mark their calendars and be prepared to get in on the action. USA Field Hockey and its partners will continue to deliver diverse and premier programming both on and off the competition pitch for an event experience that truly celebrates and cultivates the continued growth of hockey in the United States. We look forward to hosting you at the 38th National Hockey Festival in Tampa, Fla.