Thunder has to wait for season to begin

The Dunedin Thunder will have to wait a little longer to take the ice.

The side has postponed this weekend’s New Zealand Ice Hockey season opening double-header against the Queenstown-based Stampede.

The match had been scheduled to begin its revised season on Friday at the Dunedin Ice Stadium and a second one was to follow on Saturday.

The remainder of the season is also being reshuffled as a result.

It comes after the season had already be rescheduled following the initial Covid-19 lockdown.

The NZIHL had met with the three South Island teams, which had agreed to adapt their schedules after the move to Alert Level 2.

Te two Auckland teams, which were set to play double-headers over the next two weekends, have also postponed both games as the region moved to Level 3.

While many other sports had played games behind closed doors, that had not been an option for ice hockey.

As the league was not professional, it relied on ticket sales to cover the cost of the ice.

It also relied on fans in attendance to offer sponsors exposure without the broadcast channels other sports had.

Between the teams, management and rink staff, there would already be about 70 people in the building.

That would leave very few spaces for fans.

The team had not confirmed its rescheduled dates, although was looking at some time in mid-September or

Tickets could be refunded, or would remain valid for the rescheduled games.

The season had been revised after its initial suspension.

The three South Island teams would play each other in home and away weekends, while the Auckland teams would play their own series against each other.

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