Rivals of Queenstown's Southern Stampede ice hockey team be
warned: this year ''a fresh approach'' will be taken.
Last year, the Stampede finished fourth in the five-team New
Zealand Ice Hockey League, having achieved a home final in
2012 which it lost in a shoot-out to the Red Devils.
The Stampede's team co-ordinator, Ross Burns, said there were
''a lot of new faces'' this year.
Team trials have been held for the past few weeks and last
week Burns said the final team should be confirmed in the
Already the team boasts returning imports Matt Schneider
(Canada), Mike McRae (US) and Adam Blanchette (US), as well
as new imports Ryan Strayer and Brian Dunford, both from the
Of the new imports, Burns said: ''We have only had them on
ice for a short time but I think they are going to be a good
fit for our hockey.''
In terms of local players, he said players such as son Callum
Burns and Lachlan Frear were some of the ''young guns'' who
would form an important part of this year's team.
Goalie Aston Brookes has returned from the Dunedin Thunder
after studying in Dunedin.
Adding to the mix is a visiting Finnish coach who is
providing assistance to the team and so far, his ''fresh''
style is being enjoyed.
Following stalwart captain Simon Glass' exit from hockey at
the conclusion of the last season, Bert Haines will be
leading the team into the 2014 season.
Haines has recently returned from captaining the New Zealand
Ice Blacks at the World Championships in Spain, where the
team won bronze in its division.
Burns said ultimately this season the Stampede's aim was to
''have a big step up from the 2013 performance''.
''Last year didn't pan out as we had hoped and the team has
taken on a fresh approach to the 2014 season.''
The Stampede played two pre-season games in Dunedin against
the Thunder over the past weekend and is looking forward to
its first official league game on June 7 in Christchurch
against ''one of our archrivals'', the Red Devils.
''We welcome the challenge,'' Burns said.