In-line hockey aces warm up for national championships

A HIGH number of Bendigo in-line hockey players will represent Victoria and Tasmania at the national championships beginning Thursday.

Seven players will play for the Big V in the under-11s, 13s and 15s divisions, while 11 Bendigo stars will play for Tasmania.

Under an agreement, the players were able to choose whether to represent Victoria or Tasmania.

“This is the first year that players are representing Victoria,” in-line player and The Zone owner Ben Janssen said.

“To help Tasmania field teams we use country Victorian players. Players will be bidding for Australian team selection at the nationals, with the possibility to play in Anaheim at the world championships.”

The players hone their skills in Bendigo’s in-line hockey competition at The Zone in East Bendigo, while many also represent the Bendigo Blaze in the weekly Victorian League.

They will face the best from across Australia at the nationals in Adelaide from September 27 to October 4.

Teams of four players and a goalkeeper will play five games of two 20-minute halves, plus finals.

“It’s fairly similar to ice hockey, but with less contact – it’s a non-contact sport,” Janssen said. “There’s definitely some gold medal chances in the under-11s, 13s and 15s.”

Victorian representatives – Under-11: Caleb Smith, Harry Bradley. Under-13:  Callum Janssen. Under-15:  Lockie Reilly, James Gahan, Jordan Bradley. Masters: Darran Johnson.

Tasmanian representatives – Under-11: Charlie Davis-Tope, Emily Davis-Tope, Declan Challen. Under-15: Jayden Davis-Tope, Oliver Hay, Luke Archer, Sam Nichols, Bayley Janssen, Josh Bradley, Cory Cornish. Masters-Veterans:  Ben Janssen.

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