Aliyah a chip off the old ice block

New Zealand under-18 defender Aliyah Christos (16) with the tools of her trade at Queen’s High School last week. Photo: Peter McIntosh
New Zealand under-18 defender Aliyah Christos (16) with the tools of her trade at Queen’s High School last week. Photo: Peter McIntosh
You might say Aliyah Christos was born into ice hockey.

The 16-year-old defender is carving out a name for herself in the sport.

The Queen’s High School year 12 pupil represented her country at the IIHF Women’s under-18 Division 2 World Championship in Mexico earlier this year.

And last year she went to Abu Dhabi for the 2019 Challenge Cup of Asia.

But long before she had donned her first pair of ice skates, her father, Simon Christos, was lacing up his own. He played for the Queenstown-based Stampede in the early days of the National Hockey League and was a foundation member of the Dunedin Thunder when it joined the league in 2008 as an expansion team.

His love of the sport was handed down to the next generation. Aliyah’s brother Levi (13) is also a keen player.

Aliyah began figure-skating when she was about 10. The crash and bash of ice hockey became more appealing halfway through year 8.

‘‘I quite like the speed and the way you all work as a team,’’ she said.

‘‘Figure-skating is very individual and I did not like that as much, so I transitioned to ice hockey.’’

The trip to Mexico this year was ‘‘such a cool experience’’.

Aliyah was surrounded by a large southern contingent. Also selected in the side was: Tallulah Bryant; Breanne Byck; Caitlin Hollyer; Lily Maley; Gabby Mills; Emese Peter; Beth Scott and Anika Texley. Brianna Reid, Bella Gilmour and Ashleigh Dickinson were named in the reserves.

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