NZIHL weekend two preview: First games for Botany, Dunedin, West Auckland

(Photo: Gerard O'Brien)
(Photo: Gerard O’Brien)

After an exciting first week for the NZIHL, week number two is looking to keep up the pace. The Dunedin Thunder will make their way down to the Hive in Botany to start their 2014 campaign taking on the Swarm.

24 year old, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native, Kolten Fyfe will be suiting up for the Thunder for his first NZIHL season. Fyfe has spent the five years in Canada’s Junior A system and the jump to playing hockey in another country should be one experience he’ll never forget. France’s Guillaume Leclancher will be entering his third season; second as a member of the Thunder. A solid part of Dunedin’s blue line, Leclancher finished the 2013 season with six points in 15 games. Another returning forward, Martin Pokorny of the Czech Republic will be monumental in flanking both Andre Robichaud and sharpshooter Paris Heyd.

Expect a lot of the same lineup for the Swarm that was iced last year. Solid goaltending and fire from the forwards will keep this battle in close.

Both weekend games will take place down at the Paradise Ice Arena in Botany. Puck drop will be around 4:30 local time.

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(Photo: Tarei Mackey)
(Photo: Tarei Mackey)

Coming off of a dramatic two game win over the Southern Stampede, the Canterbury Red Devils will be heading into this weekend series with a bounty over their heads. Revenge might be on the table from the rest of the league for Hayden Argyle’s knockout punch to the face of Stampede’s Matthew Schneider.(A bounty which I think is ridiculous as it was nothing more than a hockey play gone wrong). It makes for an interesting story line.

The West Auckland Admirals have picked up left winger Glen Patterson off of the Bobcaygeon Bucks in central Ontario. Goaltender Rick Parry, who will be returning after playing pro in France, had his scouting cap on and managed to bring back 27 year old Yoann Chauviere. The feisty defender racked up 49 penalty minutes in 26 games.

Another home and home stand in Canterbury at the Alpine Ice Arena. Puck drop for both games is 4:45 local time.

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NZIHL Season Opener preview: Southern Stampede take on defending champs, Canterbury Red Devils

The Southern Stampede out of Queenstown, New Zealand will have their hands full when they mark the beginning of the 10th anniversary New Zealand Ice Hockey League season with a weekend series. They’ll clash with the defending champions, the Canterbury Red Devils, who will be looking to complete a three-peat this year as Birgel Cup champs. However, the road to the final won’t be easy as the NZIHL is easily icing its strongest competition yet.

Haines celebrates after a Stampede goal. (Photo: Tim Clayton)
Haines celebrates after a Stampede goal. (Photo: Tim Clayton)

Taking the reins this season for the Stampede is Finnish lad, Heikki Grohn. The head coach plays a fairly European style of play and will be looking to keep his players on the ice and out of the box. As a woeful 2013 season ended for the Stampede, changes were meant to be made. As veteran Simon Glass announced his retirement over the offseason, Canadian  Bert Haines was given the title of captain. A leader on and off the ice, Haines is an important figure in the Stampede locker room and will no doubt blossom into his captaincy.

A strong import acquisition hailing from Tennessee, Ryan Strayer joins the Stampede after coming off two seasons spent playing in Turkey and Estonia. The defensive American had a strong collegiate career with Franklin Pierce University.

Former Red Devils coach Anatoli Khorozov. (Photo: www.reddevils.co.nz)
Former Red Devils coach Anatoli Khorozov. (Photo: http://www.reddevils.co.nz)

The Red Devils on the other hand have their own differences coming into play. Defending champion head coach Anatoli Khorozov headed to Kazakhstan with new opportunities. That gave assistant coach and Queenstown native, Stacey Rout to take over as bench boss. He has been around New Zealand hockey for over 20 years, representing teams not only locally but internationally with the New Zealand Ice Blacks. No doubt Rout knows exactly what kind of game the Red Devils need to play.

The meat of the Red Devils squad have returned, eager to have another chance at glory. The defensive might be where they struggle. NZIHL Defenceman of the Year, Terry Watt, has returned back to North America for a monumental opportunity, leaving the blue line wide open for an import. The Devils signed two as a replacement, Tamas Lancses from Hungary and Evan Zych from Canada. Zych will be coming straight out of the Southern Professional Hockey League with the Mississippi Surge.

jfHPFdSMThe NZIHL will celebrate the opening of their 10th anniversary season down in Christchurch at the Alpine Ice Arena. The blue and gold of the Southern Stampede will be herding into the Canterbury Red Devils house for a two game weekend series. Puck drop for Saturday’s game is 4:45pm local time and on Sunday, 4:30 pm local time.

Cornwall to hold one of a kind NHL 14 video game tournament

6426_10152132399551647_7204738995080368715_nAfter growing tired of waiting for a video game event to happen in Cornwall, local entrepreneur Calvin Morrow decided to take matters into his own hands. Morrow moved to Cornwall roughly five years ago from the big smoke of Toronto and felt the need to establish a video game scene in the Seaway City. “I’ve always felt the video game scene is alive and present in Cornwall,” says Morrow. “Somebody just needed to take initiative.” Grabbing the bull by its horns, Morrow set up Cornwall’s first video game tournament at the Port Theatre back in March.

This isn’t any old hockey tournament; this is Hockey Night in Cornwall. Taking place at Nav Canada, this one of a kind event will feature the EA Sports classic, NHL 14. Morrow and his organizers have pretty much thought of everything. “I met Adam Lariviere and Mike Pliss of Mobile Gamers at the Smash the Port tournament. We wanted to combine our love of video games with Cornwall’s love of hockey. This was only natural.” Two tournaments will take place on May 10th, one for single players and the other for doubles. A limit of 30 entrants (one for each NHL team) will be used for the tourney. The night before on the 9th, the entrants will take place in a draft party in order to select their teams. Joseph Boyer from Touch Bass Entertainment will be providing entertainment to keep everybody in the spirit. Another nice touch is Morrow has been working with the staff at Nav Canada with making a drink menu including a one called the Hat Trick.

Each tournament is double elimination and the participants are playing for trophies, $300 in cash, and another $300 in prizes and of course bragging rights. “If this event does well, we would love to make this event annual or even bi-annually if the demand is high enough.” Morrow thinks the event could grow at an exceeding rate. “There has even been talk of a virtual league that could take weekly where we would track stats online.”

All avid video gamers are encouraged to try their hands at the event even if they’re not a hockey fan. “We are hosting these events because we love gaming and we want to help grow the scene in Cornwall. Come out to the event and let us know what you would like to see next.”

Gamers interested in taking part can register online at www.hockeynightincornwall.com and can find the event on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1490330894520327/1497849197101830/

Sports Energy News – Pat Haramis and the Cornwall Royals

I am delighted to be apart of the Sports Energy News team here in Cornwall, Ontario! Sports Energy is a publication that promotes the best local sports stories throughout Cornwall, SD&G and Akwesasne. My first story assigned to me was a look back at the 1980 Memorial Cup championship with former Cornwall Royal, Pat Haramis.

I had a great half hour conversation with Pat as he told me tons of stories from his time with the Royals and as a Golden Knight at Clarkson University in upstate New York.

If you’re in the Cornwall area, you can pick up Sports Energy News across 250 locations including Food Basics, Tim Horton’s, and the McConnell Medical Centre. This edition also includes a profile on Cornwall Multi-Sport triathlete Dana McLean.

For those of you not in the Cornwall area, you can read the paper right here at this link: http://issuu.com/blapierre/docs/issue_no_17/11

Haramis