The Dunedin Ice Stadium will host the potential decider in
the three-match ice hockey series between the United States
and Canada being played in New Zealand in July and August.
Teams from two of the powerhouses of the game will play a
three-game exhibition series in Auckland, Christchurch and
The Dunedin game will be played on August 3.
The fierce sporting rivalry in ice hockey between Canada and
the United States is similar to the rugby rivalry between the
All Blacks and the Wallabies.
It is a major coup that will give New Zealand fans a close
look at two of the sport's elite teams.
The teams will include National Hockey League players
including Kyle Quincy (Colorado Avalanche) and Rob Schremp
(New York Islanders) who will be fresh from the 2010-11
season, with the Stanley Cup playoffs having finished only a
A 26m x 56m mobile rink will be used at Auckland and
Christchurch with the Dunedin groomer being used to groom the
ice in Christchurch.
It is a feather in the cap of stadium managing director Neil
Gamble, who has worked hard to bring the Dunedin facilities
up to world class.
"It means a lot to us," Gamble said.
"It proves that if you have the facility the product will
come to you.
It will continue to be ongoing for us."
Gamble said temporary seating would be put on the curling
rink in Dunedin to bring spectator capacity up to 3000.
Dunedin Thunder coach James van Leeuwen said the North
American teams would bring a standard of ice hockey that had
never been seen in New Zealand.
"It is a big promotion for ice hockey in New Zealand and the
game will get huge spin offs from the visit."
North American and Olympic ice hockey has been seen on
television in New Zealand.
"That is exciting to watch," van Leeuwen said.
"But it is even more gripping to enjoy a fast and
entertaining sport live."
Van Leeuwen said the standard of ice hockey in New Zealand
had improved dramatically over the last decade but a tour
like this had the potential to lift the standard to a new
The ice hockey will be the start of a busy month of sport at
the Dunedin Ice Stadium.
It will be followed by the New Zealand speed skating
championships, the Winter Games speed skating, figure skating
and ice hockey.