Star-studded line up of players for Hockey 6s tournament
Australian legend Jamie Dwyer will headline talent in expanded international team contest
Australian legend Jamie Dwyer will headline an expanded international team competition featuring 25 of the world's top players at the Hong Kong Football Club Hockey 6s next month.
For the first time in its history, the tournament will begin with a full 11-a-side exhibition match, the World Hockey Challenge Hong Kong, on March 28.
The World Hockey Challenge will feature stars from the four representative teams - Australia, Great Britain, the Netherlands and the Hong Kong Barbarians - competing in the international section of the Hockey 6s. The International Federation of Hockey (FIH) has backed the all-star format.
"We are very excited at the continued growth of the Hockey 6s," said Hockey 6s committee chairman Patrick Watts. "This year's tournament is breaking new ground in international hockey and the committee is delighted to continue Hong Kong's well-established tradition of introducing innovative and entertaining formats in international sport in the mould of the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens and Cricket Sixes."
FIH president Leandro Negre said: "It says a lot about the popularity of hockey that the tournament continues to grow each year."
Dwyer, co-captain of the Australian national team and 2004 Olympic gold medallist, will lead the Australia team. Dwyer also won bronze medals in Beijing in 2008 and London last year, and won gold with Australia at the Champions Trophy in 2012 in Melbourne and the World Cup in 2010. He is a five-time FIH World Player of the Year, most recently winning the award in 2011.
Barry Middleton will lead Great Britain, who finished fourth at the London Games, in a side that includes Rob Moore, Ben Hawes, Dan Fox and James Fair.
The Dutch team are stacked with present and former internationals including Quirijn Caspers and Michael Green, a former world player of the year.
The club competition will be contested, with 30 international and regional sides on March 29 and 30.