Ice Hockey: Teen thrilled to be playing, scoring for Ice Ferns

Kirstin Gerken plays for the Ice Ferns against Australia at the International Ice Hockey...
Kirstin Gerken plays for the Ice Ferns against Australia at the International Ice Hockey Federation women’s world championships in Spain. Photo supplied.

She is only 16 but already Kirstin Gerken has been on tour with the New Zealand women's ice hockey team and scored her first goal.

The Taieri College pupil has just returned from a three-week tour to Sweden and Spain for the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) women's world championships.

Mother and Ice Ferns assistant manager Shelley Gerken said her daughter had been in age group teams before but this was her first time with the full New Zealand squad.

‘‘It's a very big deal,'' Mrs Gerken said.

‘‘She was very surprised to be selected.

‘‘It was a great surprise to us all that she was selected.''

The team spent 10 days at a training camp in Sweden before heading to the tournament in Spain where they won one game from five.

Kirstin was disappointed with the team's performance overall but her highlight came when she scored her first IIHF goal in the team's loss to Iceland.

‘‘[It] was a feeling nothing can ever replicate,'' Kirstin said in her school's newsletter.

The teen had to raise about $6000 for the trip and was training and playing about five times a week in the lead up to the tournament.

She had aspirations to keep playing for the Ice Ferns and possibly secure a scholarship overseas.

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