Dunedin to host ice hockey world champs

Ice hockey match between the Dunedin Thunder and West Auckland Admirals, at the Dunedin Ice...
Ice hockey match between the Dunedin Thunder and West Auckland Admirals, at the Dunedin Ice Stadium, on 03 July 2021. PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Dunedin's ice is world-class.

The Dunedin Ice Rink has been given the nod to host both the men’s and women’s division II B ice hockey world championships next year.

Auckland last held the men’s tournament in 2017, and the women’s II A tournament in 2013, but Dunedin was selected this time due to its rink size and facilities which met the requirement of the International Ice Hockey Federation.

New Zealand ice hockey federation president Andy Mills is "very excited" to host the two competitions to showcase the sport, and the Ice Blacks and Ice Fernz, to a wider audience.

The national league competitions have reached new heights in recent years setting records for spectators and livestream views, and the tournaments were perfectly timed to "show off world- lass ice hockey to fans in New Zealand".

"This is a great opportunity to showcase our sport to Kiwis, and let them experience the speed and excitement ice hockey brings," Mills said.

"Hosting world championships here in New Zealand is an important part of our national team programme, giving our players a break from the cost and time away from home involved with travelling internationally every year.

"Being able to play in front of home crowds, and their friends and family, will be a momentous occasion for our players I’m sure, and giving fans the opportunity to support our national teams on home ice will make the tournaments memorable events for all involved."

Several Dunedin Thunder players were selected in both teams for the world championships earlier this year.

Jackson Flight represented Dunedin Thunder in the Ice Blacks, while Kate Vernal, Abbey Heale, Sammy Heyward, Rebecca Lilly, Beth Scott, Caitlin-Judith Heale and Breane Byck represented Dunedin in the Ice Fernz.

The Southern Stampede also had eight players involved in the Ice Blacks and four in the Ice Fernz.

The women’s tournament will take place on April 14-20 followed by the men’s tournament from April 26 to May 3 next year.