New Zealand Ice Hockey League

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New Zealand Ice Hockey League
NZIHL.png
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 2005
No. of teams 5
Country  New Zealand
Continent Oceania
Most recent
champion(s)
Southern Stampede (4th title)
Most titles Botany Swarm, Canterbury Red Devils Southern Stampede(4 titles)
Official website NZ Ice Hockey League

The NZIHL is New Zealand’s national ice hockey league. It is an amateur league that was formed in 2005 to develop the sport in New Zealand and to give the top players regular competition against each other to improve the skill level of the game domestically and make New Zealand more competitive on the international scene.

Because the NZIHL is held during the Northern Hemisphere's ice hockey offseason, many quality players travel to New Zealand and enjoy an off-season abroad while keeping in ice hockey shape.

The New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation is made up of 3 affiliated regions, all of whom are represented in the New Zealand Ice Hockey League with 2 teams from Auckland, 2 teams from Southern and 1 team from Canterbury.

Teams[edit]

Teams currently in the New Zealand Ice Hockey League.
Team City Arena Founded Joined Minor Premierships Runner Up Championships
Botany Swarm Botany Downs, Auckland Paradice Botany Downs 2005 3 1 4
Canterbury Red Devils Christchurch Alpine Ice Centre 2005 4 4 4
Dunedin Thunder Dunedin, Otago Dunedin Ice Stadium 2008 1 2 -
Southern Stampede Queenstown, Otago Queenstown Ice Arena 2005 4 3 4
West Auckland Admirals Avondale, Auckland Paradice Avondale 2005 - 2 -
Foundation clubs

The NZIHL had four foundation clubs, Canterbury Red Devils, West Auckland Admirals, Southern Stampede and South Auckland Swarm. The South Auckland Swarm changed their name to the Botany Swarm in 2007 to reflect the site of their home rink.

Expansion

The Dunedin Thunder joined the competition in 2008 which saw the Southern Stampede move all its home games to Queenstown.

Future expansion

Expansion within New Zealand is limited by the number of indoor ice rinks currently available. A notable omission from the national competition is the city of Wellington, which is New Zealand's third largest city, but does not have an ice facility. Recent proposals to build a permanent ice rink in Wellington have not yet come to fruition,[1][2] despite the popularity of temporary ice rinks in the city.[3]

There is always discussion of ice facilities being built in a variety of centres around the country and if any of these come to fruition further expansion of the NZIHL is likely.

With the increase in quality of the New Zealand league and its player base, much talk centres around a combined Oceania competition with a merger between the New Zealand and Australian leagues in one form or another. An early precursor to such a move is the establishment of the current Trans-Tasman Champions League.

Rosters[edit]

NZIHL team rosters must be made up of a minimum 18 players and 2 goalies.

Each team is allowed an unlimited number of overseas imports on their roster, however there are limits to how many of these players can take the ice.

Each team can have 4 imports plus 2 assimilated players (15 months playing in NZ with unlimited ITC). Assimilated players are expected to stay in New Zealand long term and either work towards becoming an Ice Black or participate in coaching junior teams. Australian players are classed as local players and import limits do not apply.

Current season structure[edit]

The NZIHL season has developed and lengthened over time and currently consists of a home and away structure where all teams play each other 4 times, twice at home and twice away. The two top seeded teams after the regular season then contest a 3-match Grand Final Series with the first match held at the second-place finishers home rink and the remaining two matches held at the minor premiers home rink the following week.

Teams receive 3 points for an outright win, 2 points for an overtime win, 1 point for an overtime loss and no points for an outright loss.

Old season structure[edit]

2005 & 2006 seasons.

During the first two seasons of the NZIHL there was no preliminary round. Each team played 6 games, 2 games against each team. Each team hosted one round, with one team having a bye.

The top two teams would then play a 2-game finals series. If both teams won a game each, the winner would be decided on which team had the superior goal difference in those 2 games, followed by which team scored the most goals, followed by regular season results between the 2 teams.

2007 season.

The 2007 season started with preliminary rounds 1 & 2 consisting of each team playing against their local rivals twice per round on a Saturday and Sunday. The Swarm playing against the Admirals while the Red Devils squaring off against the Stampede. Each win in this round was worth 2 points, while a draw was worth 1.

The next 4 rounds saw each team’s home rink hosting a round. Each round consisting of 3 teams playing 2 games each over a Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the 4th team having a bye. Each win in these rounds was worth 4 points and the draw was worth 2 points.

In the end each team played their local rivals 6 times and the other two teams twice.

After the regular season had been completed the top two teams in the standings compete in the final, with the winner of the regular season having home ice advantage.

2008-2013 seasons.

With the Dunedin Thunder joining the NZIHL, the current format was established, but only a single Grand Final match was held at the minor premiers home rink.

NZIHL Trophy[edit]

For the 2005-2009 seasons the teams contested the NZIHL Trophy, from the 2010 season onwards they then contested a new trophy, The Birgel Cup.

Year Minor Premier Champion Runner up Score(s) Venue
2005 Southern Stampede Southern Stampede West Auckland Admirals 2-1, 6-3 Dunedin
2006 South Auckland Swarm Southern Stampede South Auckland Swarm 3-3, 5-4 Botany Downs
2007 Canterbury Red Devils Botany Swarm Canterbury Red Devils 7-0 Christchurch
2008 Canterbury Red Devils Botany Swarm Canterbury Red Devils 3-2 Christchurch
2009 Canterbury Red Devils Canterbury Red Devils Southern Stampede 5-4 Christchurch
2010 Botany Swarm Botany Swarm West Auckland Admirals 3-1 Botany Downs
2011 Botany Swarm Botany Swarm Southern Stampede 5-3 Botany Downs
2012 Southern Stampede Canterbury Red Devils Southern Stampede 6-5 (SO) Queenstown
2013 Dunedin Thunder Canterbury Red Devils Dunedin Thunder 7-3 Dunedin
2014 Canterbury Red Devils Canterbury Red Devils Dunedin Thunder 4-3, 14-6 Dunedin, Christchurch
2015 Southern Stampede Southern Stampede Canterbury Red Devils 3-5, 4-3, 4-3 Christchurch, Queenstown
2016 Skycity Stampede Skycity Stampede Canterbury Red Devils 6-2, 7-1 Christchurch, Queenstown
2017 Skycity Stampede Skycity Stampede West Auckland Admirals 5-2, 5-2 Avondale, Queenstown

Toa Kauhanga Riri Tio[edit]

The Toa Kauhanga Riri Tio challenge trophy was introduced in the 2012 season. The name translates to "champions of the ice battlefield" and the trophy is contested during the NZIHL regular season in the second home game of each series hosted by the current holder. The trophy was designed and built by Wellington craftsman Mark Newnham.

Year Holder Challenger Winner Score Venue
2012 Dunedin Thunder West Auckland Admirals West Auckland Admirals 7-4 Dunedin
2012 West Auckland Admirals Canterbury Red Devils Canterbury Red Devils 7-6 Avondale, Auckland
2012 Canterbury Red Devils West Auckland Admirals Canterbury Red Devils 7-5 Christchurch
2012 Canterbury Red Devils Dunedin Thunder Canterbury Red Devils 9-4 Christchurch
2012 Canterbury Red Devils Southern Stampede Southern Stampede 6-2 Christchurch
2013 Southern Stampede West Auckland Admirals Southern Stampede 6-5 Queenstown
2013 Southern Stampede Canterbury Red Devils Canterbury Red Devils 6-5 (OT) Queenstown
2013 Canterbury Red Devils West Auckland Admirals Canterbury Red Devils 12-2 Christchurch
2013 Canterbury Red Devils Southern Stampede Canterbury Red Devils 3-1 Christchurch
2014 Canterbury Red Devils Southern Stampede Canterbury Red Devils 4-2 Christchurch
2014 Canterbury Red Devils West Auckland Admirals Canterbury Red Devils 8-6 Christchurch
2014 Canterbury Red Devils Botany Swarm Botany Swarm 4-3 (SO) Christchurch
2014 Botany Swarm Canterbury Red Devils Canterbury Red Devils 5-1 Botany Downs, Auckland
2014 Canterbury Red Devils Dunedin Thunder Canterbury Red Devils 6-0 Christchurch
2015 Canterbury Red Devils West Auckland Admirals Canterbury Red Devils 7-6 Christchurch
2015 Canterbury Red Devils Southern Stampede Canterbury Red Devils 4-3 (OT) Christchurch
2015 Canterbury Red Devils Botany Swarm Botany Swarm 5-4 (OT) Christchurch
2015 Botany Swarm West Auckland Admirals West Auckland Admirals 3-2 (OT) Botany Downs, Auckland
2016 West Auckland Admirals Botany Swarm Botany Swarm 5-4 (OT) Avondale, Auckland
2016 Botany Swarm Canterbury Red Devils Canterbury Red Devils 4-3 Botany Downs, Auckland
2016 Canterbury Red Devils West Auckland Admirals West Auckland Admirals 7-3 Christchurch
2016 West Auckland Admirals Dunedin Thunder West Auckland Admirals 8-2 Avondale, Auckland
2016 West Auckland Admirals Skycity Stampede West Auckland Admirals 5-3 Avondale, Auckland
2017 West Auckland Admirals Botany Swarm West Auckland Admirals 14-0 Avondale, Auckland
2017 West Auckland Admirals Canterbury Red Devils West Auckland Admirals 8-2 Avondale, Auckland
2017 West Auckland Admirals Skycity Stampede Skycity Stampede 5-3 Avondale, Auckland
2017 Skycity Stampede Dunedin Thunder Skycity Stampede 6-2 Queenstown
2017 Skycity Stampede West Auckland Admirals Skycity Stampede 5-3 Queenstown

Skate Of Origin[edit]

Skate Of Origin was introduced in the 2009 season. The format sees the best players eligible to represent New Zealand at an international level play for the respective island on which they played their junior hockey. Players represent one of the two major islands of the New Zealand archipelago, namely the North Island or the South Island. The match is held alternately on either the North or South Island.

The teams contest the Glass Family Shield, named after the Glass Family of the South Island with three generations of contributors and builders of the sport within New Zealand. Ben Glass is a founding member of the NZIHF and Patron of the SIHL. Graeme Glass is the Past President of the NZIHF and recently inducted Life Member. While Simon Glass , Ben Lewis & Hamish Lewis have previously played for the New Zealand national side, the Ice Blacks, which Simon captained. Annabelle Lewis also played for the New Zealand women's side, the Ice Fernz.

Year Holder Challenger Winner Score Host
2009 N/A N/A North Island 6-5 (SO) Botany Downs, North Island
2010 North Island South Island North Island 3-2 Queenstown, South Island
2011 North Island South Island North Island 8-6 Botany Downs, North Island
2012 North Island South Island South Island 5-3 Christchurch, South Island
2013 South Island North Island South Island 6-5 Botany Downs, North Island
2014 South Island North Island South Island 6-4 Dunedin, South Island
2015 South Island North Island North Island 9-7 Queenstown, South Island
2016 North Island South Island North Island 2-1 (SO) Avondale, North Island
2017 - - - - -

Trans-Tasman Champions League[edit]

The Trans-Tasman Champions League was established in 2012 to expand relations, cooperation and competition between the New Zealand Ice Hockey League and the Australian Ice Hockey League.

The format sees the grand finalists from both competitions come together to contest the Trans-Tasman Trophy over a weekend of international match-ups. The competition was set out to be held alternately by either New Zealand or Australia on an annual basis, but costs prevented Australia from sending teams in 2013. Discussions are being undertaken to renew the competition in 2016 with the champions of each nation facing off in a 3-match series in New Zealand.

Year Winner Runner Up Other Competitors Host
2012 Melbourne Ice Newcastle North Stars Botany Swarm, Southern Stampede Melbourne, Australia

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lane Nichols (2011-09-27). "Work starts on Wellington ice rink". The Dominion Post. 
  2. ^ "Wellingtonian editorial: City on ice-skating map". The Wellingtonian. 2011-10-20. 
  3. ^ Jo Moir (2013-03-21). "Ice rink returns to Queen's Wharf". The Dominion Post. 

External links[edit]