Ice Hockey: Dunedin confirmed as international ice sports venue

The success of the third division ice hockey world championships has confirmed Dunedin as an international venue for ice sports.

The $4 million Dunedin Ice Stadium has brought international sport to the city and has lifted the profile of Dunedin as an international sports venue.

Visiting teams praised the standard of the ice at the stadium and enjoyed Dunedin as a venue for major sports events.

Ice hockey identity William "Buzz" Schneider, a member of the United States team that won the Miracle on Ice gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics, praised the facilities.

The Dunedin public backed the event with crowds of 1000 on most nights, increasing to 1500 on the final night on Thursday, when the Ice Blacks beat Ireland 9-0 to clinch the gold medal.

University lecturer Dr Barrie Berkeley provided the spark for ice sports in Dunedin, when he called an inaugural meeting in 1976 to form a committee to establish an ice stadium in Dunedin.

Berkeley had the vision to see the possibilities and his confidence has been rewarded 30 years later.

The Big Chill Ice Rink was opened in Kaikorai Valley in 1987, but the impetus for a world-class facility came when the Dunedin Curling Club took ownership of the facility.

The Dunedin Ice Stadium was opened in 2004 and an international curling rink was added a year later.

The ice hockey championships showed what the stadium has done for Dunedin by bringing in sports teams from countries that would not normally visit New Zealand.

The Dunedin public was able to watch teams from Turkey, Luxembourg, Ireland and Greece playing in the ice hockey championships last week.

This week, world senior curling championships will be played at the stadium and included among the 12 competing teams are Hungary, Finland, Switzerland, Germany and Sweden.

Add in the international curling rink at Naseby and Otago has two world-class indoor ice facilities.

At the Pacific Curling Championships last November, teams from China, Chinese Taipei and Korea competed at Naseby.

The Dunedin Ice Stadium is still a work in progress and additions and improvements will continue to be made as funds become available.

The facilities at the stadium are well used by local curlers, ice hockey players and skaters.

It is a tribute to the vision of Berkeley and the hard work of local ice sports enthusiasts like Neal Gamble, Edwin Harley and Trevor Lewis.


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