Devlin thrilled to be donning NZ colours at home rink tomorrow

‘‘It’ll be cool to play in front of family and friends.’’PHOTO: SUPPLIED
‘‘It’ll be cool to play in front of family and friends.’’PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Dylan Devlin has plenty to be excited about tomorrow.

The 23-year-old is back into proper training on the ice.

He is also back wearing an Ice Blacks jersey.

And, most significantly, he is doing that on his home rink.

The former King’s High School pupil will be one of 12 Dunedin Thunder players in action at the Dunedin Ice Stadium tomorrow.

Of those, five — Devlin, Paris Heyd, Joe Orr, Ben Harford and Jon Barakauskas — will play in a two-period game between two Ice Blacks squads.

The others will line up for the New Zealand under-20 and under-18 teams, which play each other in two periods prior to it.

It will be the first time the Ice Blacks have played in the city in a decade.

That means for many, including Devlin, it will be their first time on home ice wearing national colours.

However, for Devlin both being on the ice and wearing those colours on their own are significant.

The defenceman has spent the past two years in Wanaka.

While he has played for the Thunder as much as he could in that time, training time was limited.

Having moved home two years ago, he now feels as if he is back in condition.

His only previous experience in the Ice Blacks came against Australia three years ago.

He had enjoyed that experience and was hopeful there would be more to come.

"I’m real happy I got selected to do this," he said.

"I’ll hopefully make the team later on in the year and whenever the next event is as well.

"I haven’t actually done that as well, playing [for New Zealand] at home ice.

"Hopefully we get a good crowd. It’ll be cool to play in front of family and friends."

A builder and keen surfer, Devlin began playing ice hockey at intermediate school.

He carried on through his time at King’s and began training with the Thunder in 2013.

A year later he made his debut for the team and has worked his way into becoming the assistant captain.

After coming and going the past two seasons, he was excited to immerse himself back in the sport fully.

Tomorrow will be his first chance to do that and he said all the players were looking forward to getting back on the ice for a game.

He expected it to be of high intensity, as the younger players would be equally keen to prove themselves.

Devlin wants to prove himself in the Ice Blacks jersey as well as get some time together with the other Thunder players.

"I’ll try to throw my weight around and show that I can do it — probably just making some good chemistry with the other boys that are in the Thunder that are playing this weekend.

"Just try to get going with them and show our team’s going to be ready this year."

The puck drops at 4.30pm.

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