Canterbury Red Devils Season Highlights

RED_DEVILSThe Canterbury Red Devils play their final two home games this weekend in the race for first place.

They have put together a highlight package of the past year as a thank you to the fans. It’s worth checking out just for Joe Cocker’s rendition of With A Little Help From My Friends.

In all seriousness though, check out the video for some incredible goals.

Botany Swarm vs Canterbury Red Devils Weekend Preview

The Botany Swarm will have their work cut out for the them as they face the current Toa Kauhanga Riri Tio champions, the Canterbury Red Devils. You could also argue the the Red Devils have their work cut out of them as well.

(Photo credit: nzihl.com)
(Photo credit: nzihl.com)

The Botany Swarm split their last weekend set with the Dunedin Thunder. In their final meeting of the season, the Swarm notched 8 goals and the Thunder only responded with one. The big story of that game though was longtime Botany Swarm forward Josh Hay notching his 100th point in an astonishing 100 games. At only 24 years old, Hay definitely has a long career ahead of him with the Botany Swarm, and the New Zealand Ice Hockey League in general.

(Photo credit: nzihl.com)
(Photo credit: nzihl.com)

The Canterbury Red Devils sit tied for first with the Dunedin Thunder. Depending on how all the games work out this weekend, the standings could change dramatically. The Red Devils completely overpowered and dismantled the West Auckland Admirals in their last weekend set to keep the
Toa Kauhanga Riri Tio trophy at home in Canterbury. Chris Eaden and Brett Speirs will be looking to add to their point totals. It will be interesting to see who starts in goal this weekend for the Red Devils as well.

This is one weekend match up you do not want to miss. I plan on setting my timer to be up at 1am to take it all in. Make sure you either get down to Botany to watch it live or tune into NZIHL.tv and pick up all the action. Puck drops for the first game at 5pm local time.

Q&A With Canterbury Red Devils Terry Watt

(Photo credit: Gisela Gudrun)
(Photo credit: Gisela Gudrun)

Terry Watt is one of many Canadians who are sorted throughout the world playing the game we love. A native of Ajax, Ontario, he has spent most of his career in the Federal Hockey League while winning a championship with my close to home Akwesasne Warriors. He is currently down under playing for the Canterbury Red Devils of the New Zealand Ice Hockey League.

March Hockey: You’ve played with numerous teams in the FHL including winning a championship with the Akwesasne Warriors. What was that experience like and how would you compare that league to the NZIHL where you are now?

Terry Watt: Playing for Akwesasne was a great experience. It was my first year playing pro and I was lucky enough to win a championship. The best part was playing on the same team with NHL players and my D partner was an Olympian. Winning a championship is great but being able to learn from these types of players is something you will carry on with you forever. The big difference between the NZIHL and hockey in North America is time and space. The hockey here is more European influenced. The game is less physical and you seem to have a bit more time and space with the puck, it’s more of a controlled game where each team is trying to run up the score board.

 

(Photo credit: Gisela Gudrun)
(Photo credit: Gisela Gudrun)

MH: How does the talent in the NZIHL stack up in general??

TW: The hockey talent in the NZIHL is a lot better than people in North America even know. I have seen some Kiwi’s that would defiantly compete for some jobs back home; Chris Eden, Brett Speirs, K.C ball and Gino Heyd, just to name a few.
MH:  Growing up, who was your biggest influence on your style of play??

TW: Growing up a Toronto Maple Leafs fan I would have to say Mats Sundin was my favorite player growing up. I played forward my whole life until i turned pro; my coach tried me on D because I play a physical game and can make a good first pass. I don’t like comparing myself to NHL players because they are in a NHL for a reason and I can only inspire to be as good as they are at what they do.

MH: If you could play against anybody past or present, who would it be and why??

 

(Photo credit: Gisela Gudrun)
(Photo credit: Gisela Gudrun)

TW: Mats Sundin, no question in my mind. Sundin is one of the reasons I wanted to become a hockey player. I would just want to thank him for giving me hope that one day I could be a pro like him. I know I didn’t make it to the NHL, but I’m still playing the game and get to travel all over the world because of it, not many people in their life time have had a chance to do the same things I have.
MH: Where do you hope your hockey career will take you next??

TW: Right now I just want to play in as many countries as possible. I want to play for a new team in a new country for the next couple of years. Travel the world! And when it’s all said and done, I want to coach. I would love to coach when I’m done with hockey.

Red Devils Take 2 In Championship Fashion

The Toa Kauhanga Riri Tio Trophy is staying in Canterbury. The Red Devils put on two powerhouse performances to retain the crown and left the West Auckland Admirals alone in the dust.

adm_rdSaturday afternoon’s match up seen both teams meetup after a bye week and time off. Fresh off the injured reserve from a minor concussion, Terry Watt came off the bench and bagged a hat trick showing he was still in fine form. The Red Devils doubled that lead with goals from Martin Lee, Jamie Lawrence and Brett Spiers finishing with a 6-2 win. Spiers came out with a two point night as he added an assist. Rookie goaltender Daniel Lee was stellar in net proving himself early and stopping 18 shots.

 

1075574_10151972421292345_1949605134_oSunday afternoon’s game of defending the TKRT Trophy proved to be more of a walk in the park for the Red Devils. With the final score at 12-2, Canterbury stepped out of the gate in that first period with both gears burning. Goals came from every line and proved to be too much for the Admirals. Longtime goaltender Justin Findlay made his impressive first start of the season, keeping the Red Devils in tight.

The Canterbury Red Devils are now tied for first with the Dunedin Thunder as Dunedin split their weekend series with the Botany Swarm. Catch the Red Devils on July 27th and 28th down at the ParadIce arena as they face the Swarm.

Canterbury Red Devils vs West Auckland Admirals Weekend Preview

The Canterbury Red Devils are hoping to jump into second place as they face the West Auckland Admirals in a two game set at home in Christchurch.

RED_DEVILSThe Alpine Ice rink will be lined in a sea of red of support as the Devils came off their last weekend set with losing both games to the now first place Dunedin Thunder. Scoring leader Chris Eaden will still be out with an upper body injury and there’s no word yet on strong defenceman Terry Watt’s return as he is still injured from a concussion. (EDIT: I have heard from the man himself, Watt will be in the lineup this weekend!)

The West Auckland Admirals are also coming off a 2 game loss to the Dunedin Thunder from their last weekend set on June 22. Jani Lehtinen scored twice to keep the Admirals close but it wasn’t enough as the Thunder rallied back and capped it off. (Check out some of the imported talent the Dunedin Thunder has on their roster)

ADMIRALSBoth teams are coming off of a bye week and should be well rested and ready to play. The Admirals however haven’t played since the weekend of June 23rd. Will they be top notch heading into Christchurch? They better be as the Red Devils are defending their Toa Kauhanga Riri Tio trophy on Sunday.

Only time will tell this weekend.

The Teams Of The New Zealand Ice Hockey League

I’ve been very intrigued lately by the game of hockey being played in non traditional hockey markets. I’m sure you’ve noticed that by now. I love giving these teams and leagues more exposure on this side of the pond because lord knows their hard work deserves it. With that, let’s take a look at the 5 teams in the NZIHL.

Botany_Swarm_logo1. Botany Swarm – Auckland, New Zealand

The Botany Swarm were one of the first inaugaral teams in the NZIHL. First named the South Auckland Swarm, they made the switch to Botany to better reflect their origins. The Swarm are 4 time NZIHL champions and currently sit tied for second in this year’s standings.

ADMIRALS2. West Auckland Admirals – Auckland, New Zealand

Another team that was apart of the inguaral beginnings of the NZIHL, the West Auckland Admirals are also, you guessed it, based out of Auckland. The team has improved leaps and bounds over the years despite winning zero championships. They currently sit last place.

RED_DEVILS3. Canterbury Red Devils – Christchurch, New Zealand

The Red Devils are currently your NZIHL reigning champions hoping to make a repeat this year. Based out of Christchurch, they have 2 championships under their belt and are one of the stronger teams in the league. I’ve personally taking a liking to the Red Devils so be on the look out for game recaps. They currently sit tied for second.

Dunedin_Thunder_logo4. Dunedin Thunder – Dunedin, New Zealand

Found in 2008 the Dunedin Thunder are currently the first place holders in this year’s season. After struggling like most expansion teams do, the Thunder have bolted their way through the ranks and are stronger as ever. I have a feeling they will give the championship a good run this season. They currently are in the midst of a 4 game win streak.

STAMPEDE5. Southern Stampede – Queenstown, New Zealand

The Stampede are 2 time NZIHL champs and are a force to be reckoned with. A physical team, they bring a new style to the New Zealand game. Every year they also hold an exhibition game with the New Zeland Ice Blacks, the country’s national team. They currently sit tied for second.

The games in NZ get as tight as you can get making for great hockey. This league thoroughly excites me and I am glad to be vocal about the league in North America and my side of the globe.

More Hockey Down Under! The New Zealand Ice Hockey League

NZIHLThe NZIHL is an amateur hockey league based out of New Zealand. It’s creation in 2005 was a way to help the top players in the area have international potential. Rivaled by near by Australia and the AIHL, New Zealand wanted a place where the home grown hockey loving players and fans could thrive.

A reason for it’s growth over the years is that fact that there season takes place during the offseason of most professional hockey leagues. Many players flock down under to stay in shape as each team is allowed an unlimited number of Australian talent as they don’t count as imports and only up to 4 players from overseas. The only drawback is how much playing time they actually have on the ice. If the team acquires an import goaltender, he is only allowed to play for 60% of his teams minutes.

The league is made up of 5 teams; 2 on the North Island and 3 on the South. During the season a game entitled the “Skate Of Origin” is held almost like an All-Star game between the two islands. It’s a fun way to get everyone involved and have support for the game.

In case you haven’t had a chance to check it out, I had the opportunity to speak with the goaltender of the Canterbury Red Devils, Justin Findlay which you can read here.

It’s nice to see the sport thriving in non traditional hockey markets. Findlay also incorporated a nice Q&A about the league, be sure to check that out as well.

Q&A With Canterbury, New Zealand Red Devils Goaltender Justin Findlay

Last week we saw how hockey has taken off in Wales, United Kingdom with our Q&A with Matt Richards of the Cardiff Bay Lightning. This week we head down under.

RED_DEVILSJustin Findlay is a 25 year old Canadian playing goaltender for the Canterbury Red Devils of the New Zealand Ice Hockey League. Most people don’t even think of hockey when they hear of that country. Here’s what Justin had to tell me about the ever growing game in Kiwi land.

March Hockey: How did you end up in New Zealand, let alone playing hockey there?

Justin Findlay: I was originally born in Sudbury, Ontario. My father is an air traffic controller and with his job he moves around a lot. I moved here when I was 4/5 years old and started playing inline hockey at age 10. I then transitioned to ice hockey at 12 and continued to play both until 17 years old when I switched to ice permanently.

MH: How is the hockey there compared to that of European leagues or back home in North America? Are fans just as passionate?

971646_10151901929437345_1204126200_nJF: The league is growing in skill level and fans every season, we have a very passionate support base and I firmly believe the Southern Stampede have the most passionate fans in the NZIHL. I would compare our league to a Canadian major junior league in terms of skill level, although as I said earlier it improves every season.

MH: Is there a lot of support for hockey in New Zealand? Or even Australia?

JF: There is a great, loyal fan base down under, in both countries! New Zealanders really enjoy the sport but the problem is getting them down to their first game. We find that once people have seen one game it is quite hard to keep them away!

MH: Growing up, who was your biggest influence as a goaltender?? What is your style of play like?

296281_10151873877787345_143077362_nJF: Growing up I was heavily influenced by Dominik Hasek, Terry Sawchuck, Curtis Joseph, Johnny Bower, Patrick Roy and ‘Battlin’ Billy Smith. I play a hybrid-butterfly style of goal-tending and I love to challenge shooters and come quite far out of my net. I am confident in my puck handling, although my team members may not be as confident!

MH: And finally, if you could play with any player, past or present, who would it be and why??

JF: If I could play with ANY player ever it would have to be Scott Stevens of the New Jersey Devils. I know he would protect me in net and would give me some huge hits to fawn over on the ice.

Head on over to http://www.reddevils.co.nz for more info on the team and the NZIHL!