Hamilton’s Claudelands Arena will be renamed the Casey Kopua Arena on 12 May, as a tribute to the veteran netballer’s long career with the Splice Construction Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.

Kopua has been in the Magic team for 17 years, and will play her final home match for the side at Claudelands against the Northern Mystics on Sunday as the 2019 ANZ Premiership nears its finale.

From Thursday 9 May, the arena section of Claudelands will be renamed Casey Kopua Arena, until the conclusion of the Magic v Mystics match on 12 May.

This is a rare honour for any sportsperson, but Kopua has created a rich legacy with the sport and is the embodiment of the Magic culture and ethos.

The 33-year-old has only ever played for Magic, joining the team as a teenager, and the 12 May game will be her 186th match for the tea. Being a Waikato local, Claudelands holds many special memories for her and Magic fans and is Kopua’s favourite venue in the ANZ Premiership competition.

Sean Murray, the Council’s General Manager for Venues, Tourism and Events, says naming the court after Kopua reflects her mana and strong connection to the city and the venue.

“Claudelands is Casey’s home court, and her efforts here for the Magic have been roared on by the crowd for more than a decade,” Mr Murray says.

“When the Magic approached us about this acknowledgement for one of their team’s stalwarts, we were immediately on-board – Casey really deserves a tribute of this kind as she signs off on a great career, which we’re proud to have been a part of.”

Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty Chief Executive Rohan West says it’s a fitting tribute to Kopua.

“There’d hardly be a better way to honour Casey. In a venue that witnessed some of her greatest individual and team performances, and in a city where the fans adore her, it seems a natural thing to do,” he says.

“A number of teams and venues, both domestically and around the world, have done something similar when other sporting legends retire. I’m so grateful our terrific venue partners, Hamilton City Council and H3, and the competition managers Netball New Zealand, have all agreed to bestow this honour onto Casey for her last ever home game for Splice Construction Magic.”

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