Southern Stampede import Ryan Strayer is ready to
experience how loud the Queenstown team's fans are. Photo
by Christina McDonald.
Ryan Strayer has heard stories of the flaming rivalry
between Queenstown's Southern Stampede and Christchurch's Red
Strayer will be playing centre for the Stampede and is one of
two new imports this year, both from the United States.
He and returning import Adam Blanchette played ice hockey
together as children in the US, which proved to be a catalyst
for joining the Stampede.
''He [Blanchette] told me some great things about Queenstown
and New Zealand so I decided to pursue playing for the
Stampede,'' Strayer said.
He grew up in Connecticut and has played ice hockey in
Despite a few new faces in the Stampede this year, Strayer
said he felt the team was a ''close-knit group'' and
consequently, he was ''pretty positive'' about the season
Concerning the Red Devils, which controversially beat the
Queenstown team in a not-forgotten national league final at
the Queenstown Ice Arena in 2012, Strayer says he has ''heard
it's quite a rivalry''.
The Stampede, which won the New Zealand league in its debut
year of 2005 and defended the title a year later, also faced
the Devils in a final in 2009 and lost.
''I had a friend who played for them [Red Devils] last year
so I know of them and what they have done,'' Strayer said.
''And I've been told from the Stampede fans what to expect
when those games happen.''