The current state of officiating in the NZIHL

(Photo: Suzanne Teesdale)
(Photo: Suzanne Teesdale)

Given last weekend’s drama filled antics between the Canterbury Red Devils and Southern Stampede which led to a player suspension, I assumed the quality of referring for the two game series between the West Auckland Admirals and the Red Devils would be tight to maintain order and keep control. With the beauty of technology, I was able to catch the full stream of the game without being have asleep at two in the morning. (I’m not complaining, don’t get me wrong but it’s so awesome to have the NZIHL at my fingertips during the day.)

However, my thoughts definitely got the wrong side of things. Maybe it’s just because I’m seasoned to watching professional hockey leagues (but even they have their own officials that are lacking at times), but what I saw were many blown calls that were turned around and made up after noticing the call they missed before. Easily a lack of consistency. Nobody got the better end of the stick either; the officiating was poor for both teams.

Throwing out game misconducts like they were going out of style in an attempt to control the game. That will only make things more hyped up. Well you say, how does one control the game then? By making smart judgement calls when they’re warranted.

I realize that these officials have to be certified in order to boss the game. My question is, are they having their memory refreshed during the offseason with continuing yearly courses? I understand New Zealand is fairly new to having a national league but this would do wonders for the growth of the sport. Referring clinics in the off season could even attract new people to the sport. You could import a couple of seasoned referees to help out and showcase their resumes.

Before you start to send me hate mail, this isn’t a knock on the refs. It’s more of an eye opening catch to make sure the league keeps its standards high to attract the best quality players. I understand and can not be more grateful for the sacrifice they make to pick up officiating and give up their spare time. I’ve also only watched the past two games in Christchurch, so I haven’t a clue if it’s like this in the rest of the country.

I’ve seen some leagues go down and fold due to poor officiating. I don’t want this to happen to the NZIHL.


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.



(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.

Botany Swarm vs West Auckland Admirals Weekend Preview

Another important set will take place this weekend for the Botany Swarm as they are in the hunt for first and second  place. Along with the Canterbury Red Devils, Dunedin Thunder and the Southern Stampede, it’s a VERY tight race in the standings.


The Swarm pulled off a stunning victory against the Canterbury Red Devils in the first game of their last weekend set. Hitting the double digits mark with 10 goals, the Swarm capitalize on the Red Devils early mistakes. The second game however, they were halted by the Red Devils by a tight score of 4-3. Botany and Canterbury have split their season series as well.

Over the course of the weekend, Brandon Contratto, Evan Mackintosh, and Mickey Rhodes combined for an astonishing 13 points. Look for them to break out even more this weekend.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the Admirals this season. Their last weekend set saw them pick up their first season win, a 6-2 final over the Southern Stampede. I don’t expect them to be standing down this weekend. They’re going to make the Swarm earn their spot in the standings as I can see at least one game heading into overtime.

Get down to Avondale this weekend to check out the Botany Swarm’s last 2 games of the regular season. Puck drops at 5pm local time.

For my Canadian friends that are nightowls, you can catch the action at starting at 1am Saturday morning!

Admirals Stun Stampede; Notch First Win Of The Season

It was all business down at the ParadIce Avondale for the West Auckland Admirals and boy did they mean it.

(Photo credit: Jo McCarthy)

On wear your old jersey night, Chris Belanger opened up the scoring 4 minutes into the first period but the Admirals were far from done. Nick Henderson and Robert Chamberlain added a power play goal each to take them into the second period with a 3-0 lead.

Goaltender Anders Jespersen was stunning in net as the Admirals capitalized on their lead. Henderson and Chamberlain (another PP goal for Chamberlain) added their seconds of the game along with George Scott to put the Admirals out front by an astonishing 6 goal lead. The Stampede were trying to make a game of it though as they cut the lead down to 4 by the end of the second period.

The third period started out even as both teams fought for possession of the puck. Jespersen was brilliant in net during the third period stopping all Stampede shots. The Stampede though became depleted with tens minutes ago and seemed a bit lifeless. Although trying to spur the team with a few fights, it proved to be nothing of significance. The Admirals pulled off their first win of the season!

(Photo credit: Jo McCarthy)

The West Auckland Admirals will try their hand at repeating this remarkable performance tomorrow as they play game 2 of their home and home set with the Southern Stampede. Will the Stamps be able to round-up some strength and mount a comeback to split the series?? Only one way to find out! Get down to the ParadIce Avondale for hard-hitting NZIHL action!

Southern Stampede vs. West Auckland Admirals Preview

In the only series being played this weekend in the New Zealand Ice Hockey League,  the Southern Stampede travel down to Avondale to take on the West Auckland Admirals.

1075574_10151972421292345_1949605134_oThe Admirals are coming off of a 2 game loss (including a confrontation with the TKRT Tropthy) to the Canterbury Red Devils on their last weekend set in Christchurch. They will hope to be ready to play against the opposing Stamps. Nick Henderson will be looking to add to his team leading goals as he enters this weekend’s showdown.

img_teamThe Southern Stampede however have not played since June 29th. On that date they fell to the Botany Swarm by a score of 10-6 in front of a hometown crowd. Will the time off prepare them for their clash with the Admirals or will it have turned into a disadvantage? Only time will tell. Matt Schneider who sits second in the league with goals scored and 4th in the league in points will try to add to his streak to sit on top. Mike McRae will also look to add to his point total to move up a notch with the league leaders.

The Stampede and Admirals both sit at the bottom of the standings in 4th and 5th place respectively. With that being said, don’t count out the Stampede. They’re very much still in the running as spots 1 through 3 are in a tight race. With two wins this weekend, the Stampede could very well see themselves tied for 3rd place.

Get down to the Paradice Avondale this weekend for some sure to be hard-hitting and talented hockey. Puck drops at 5pm local time.

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.