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Scott Newman
Scott Newman
WAA vs. CRD at Paradice, Avondale

We are halfway through the New Zealand Ice Hockey League schedule. If you have not seen an Ice Hockey game (in New Zealand) yet then there are plenty of chances to see a local game over the next 6 weeks.

There are 5 teams in the NZ League.  There are two clubs from the North Island (both in Auckland). Botany Swarm (Paradice in Botany) & West Auckland Admirals. (Paradice in Avondale) The other three clubs are from the South Island. Christchurch, Canterbury Red Devils (Alpine Ice Sports Centre in Opawa) Dunedin, Dunedin Thunder (Dunedin Ice Stadium in St. Kilda) & Queenstown, Southern Stampede. (Queenstown Fun Center in Queenstown Gardens)
The league has been in NZ since 2005. The Stampede won the first two championships. The defending champions are the Swarm won have won the last two years. The Dunedin Thunder expanded into the league in 2008. They are finding their way into the competition having a win in the first year and again this season. The best players from each of the teams in the league are selected to be ICE BLACKS (Yes, they do the haka on ice as well!) NZ is currently ranked 39th in the world. (Australia is ranked 31st!)
It is an exciting game to watch and not at all just about the physical contact as there is a lot of fitness, skill and stamina needed in order to play the game. The league in New Zealand is amateur. The league recruits players from other countries to help bring more exposure to Ice Hockey in New Zealand. I can already tell that we have learned a lot from the imports.
The games for the teams are played in the weekend with times in the early afternoon/evening. Every team plays a two game series at home and away. Then the top 2 teams battle out in a playoff game for the final.  Tickets to a local match cost around $15.00 the game is in three 20 minute periods. A game usually takes around 2 hours. (With all stoppages and team breaks)
I see that the sport is getting bigger in NZ now. That is great news as it really is an excellent sport to support & watch live. The Ice Blacks also have a showdown with Australia coming up soon which I will post about closer to the time. Go & check out a game this weekend to see what it is all about.
Saturday 25th July - Admirals at Swarm (5.30pm) Stampede at Red Devils (4.30pm)
Sunday 26th July - Admirals at Swarm (5.30pm) Stampede at Red Devils (4.30pm)

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