Visitors add Spanish spice to Old Canberrans and Capital League hockey

They have traded in a hot European summer for a chilly Canberra winter and now Santi Donoso de Paz and Nil Escude are giving the Capital League a Spanish flavour.

De Paz and Escude are in Canberra for the rest of the first-grade season as part of a program to foster a relationship between Old Canberrans and Spanish club Deportiu Terrassa.

It's the second time players from Spain have had a stint at Old Canberrans. Marc Lara Rosell and Genis Castells Lao enjoyed a successful time at the club last year.

The visits came after Old Canberrans first-grade captain and club president Seyi Onitiri had an offer in 2008 to play for Deportiu Terrassa.

"It was a fantastic opportunity, not only to bring them, but to hopefully open up the channels both ways and to have some of our guys go across,'' Onitiri said.

"I've always enjoyed travelling with hockey.


"Not even the biggest superstars make a lot of money out of it, but you can have a pretty awesome time travelling the world.''

De Paz and Escude, both 21, have been in the country for the past 10 days and will return home after the grand final in September.

They have both won junior honours. De Paz played for his country at the under-16 and under-18 levels and Escude won a silver medal with Spain at the under-18 European championships.

"For me it's a great experience to be here because it's a great way to visit Australia,'' De Paz said.

"It's really nice to play in this team because all of the guys are really nice and the team is competitive.

"I'm on the second team of my club in Spain and the level here is about the same.''

While De Paz and Escude are new to the competition, the same cannot be said for United veteran Luke MacKinnon.

The former Canberra Laker will play his 400th game in the Capital League for United when it takes on Wests at the National Hockey Centre on Saturday.

CAPITAL LEAGUE: Men: Saturday: United v Wests 12.15pm, St Pats v Albury 1.45pm, Central v Tuggeranong Valley 4.45pm, all these games at Natonal Hockey Centre; Goulburn v Old Canberrans, 3.30pm, Goulburn Hockey Park. Sunday: United v Albury 10.45am, Tuggeranong Valley v St Pats 6.15pm, all games at National Hockey Centre.

Women: Saturday: UC v Albury 3.15pm. Sunday: North Canberra v United 12.15pm, Old Canberrans v St Pats1.45pm, Tuggeranong Valley v Central 3.15pm. All games at National Hockey Centre.