Curling, ice hockey ditched to cut costs

Curling and ice hockey are off the New Zealand Winter Games programme.

Winter Games chief executive Martin Toomey confirmed the Games would have a focus around snow sports and would not now include curling or ice hockey.

He said the Games had to be financially sustainable and it would be centred around the Wanaka and Queenstown area.

The Games would focus on alpine skiing, free ride events and park and pipe events.

The centralisation of events made them easier to cover and would cut down on costs.

Toomey said it was disappointing the sports had to go and it was no reflection on the people from those sports who had put in a huge effort and were great to work with.

The Games would still last two weeks and were set to take place in the last week of August and the first week of September.

He said the event was still in a holding pattern over Covid-19 and would make a call in the next few weeks.

New Zealand Curling chairman Sam Inder said in a
statement curling had enjoyed the relationship with the Games since they started in 2009.

NZ Curling was disappointed and the loss of the premier international event was a major blow for the sport, Inder said.

Inder had been in touch with Australian Curling with a view to resurrecting the Trans Tasman Trophy and had received a positive response.

He said curling would like to organise a Winter Games type of event on its own but it would require significant funding.

The sport was seeking sponsorship for a new version of a New Zealand international mixed doubles competition.

Ice hockey at the Winter Games had involved tests between New Zealand and Australia in recent years and was played in Queenstown. It had proved popular with fans, selling out the rink in Queenstown.

The sport was in a state of flux at the moment after the national league was canned for this season earlier in the week because of Covid-19.



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