By TONY WHITE
FOR 40-odd Grafton children, the weekend provided a special occasion most are unlikely to ever forget. The sight of Olympic heroes Brent Livermore and Michael McCann mixing it with our local hockey stars of the future provided one of the major highlights of the weekend's hockey extravaganza. "The kids just loved it," Grafton Men's Hockey Association president Bruce Carle said. "To see Brent (Livermore) and Michael McCann in among a mass of children was incredible. "They (the children) all had their photos taken after the games with them (Livermore and McCann). "I reckon it will be a best seller." The weekend marked the official opening of the new water-based field, which is now Brent Livermore Field. Accolades from all quarters have flowed after the inaugural 'hockeyfest', which featured two exhibition games between Australian Hockey League (AHL) teams from New South Wales and Queensland. "It was just great. The whole weekend was terrific," Livermore said. "Michael and I especially enjoyed working with the kids. "Hopefully this can become an annual event. All the players enjoyed it and are looking forward to coming back next year if possible." Hockey NSW president Carol Purdy was extremely impressed, Carle said. "She was quite amazed," he said. "She was very surprised at the quality of the facility and how the weekend was run. "We were able to show what Grafton can do. "There have already been discussions about making this an annual event ? the feedback has been great ? and there is also the probability of us hosting an AHL game in the future. "It was a successful exercise to show what we're capable of doing and what we've got to offer. "Carol (Purdy) and the Queenslanders will return home to have discussions with their officials and players and the AHL. "I'm delighted for all the hard work everyone has put in. The response has been very positive from everyone. "I didn't hear a negative comment all weekend." Apart from Livermore and McCann tutoring the kids, the special father-son and mother-daughter games were also well received. The exhibition matches involving Grafton's men's and women's teams also provided plenty of entertainment. Livermore was a busy man playing five games in all. "He's undoubtedly one of the fittest and most skilled athletes in Australia," one admiring onlooker said. He starred in the Grafton men's team's 3-1 win over a select Dubbo side, scoring two goals. "It was great to revive old friendships and memories," Livermore said. McCann and former local Peter Kelly turned out for Dubbo and another former local and NSW player, Robbie Green, played for Grafton. "Brent, Robbie and Peter proved extremely popular with the locals," Carle said. While Livermore played full games for NSW on Saturday and yesterday in exhibition matches against Queensland, Green and Kelly came on as substitutes in Saturday's game ? won 3-1 by Queensland ? and were in the starting line-up for yesterday's game ? won 2-1 by NSW.