Players off to Turkey with Ice Blacks

Two Southern Stampede players will be going to Turkey after being chosen to represent New Zealand at an international ice hockey tournament in Izmit, Turkey, in April.

Bert Haines and Brett Speirs have been selected to play for the Ice Blacks in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) division two, group B championships.

The competition will run from April 21 to 27. Speirs said a 10-day training camp before the tournament meant the team would probably depart from New Zealand on April 9.

''This is my ninth year [so] I'm a veteran.''

The 30-year-old Hamilton-born player has been playing hockey for 20 years and moved to Queenstown in 2005 after the ice rink in Hamilton closed. Speirs has played for the Southern Stampede since the national hockey league began in 2005 but has since relocated to Christchurch because of work commitments.

His hopes for the Ice Blacks at the tournament are to win a gold medal.

Bert Haines is overseas and could not be contacted.

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