Auckland, New Zealand - To say that New Zealand's hockey team reflects that of its country's history would be too story book; in fact, it is almost the polar opposite. Unlike being one of the last inhabited countries, ice hockey has been one of the longest incorporated sports on the island as it began over 70 years ago on frozen lakes, much like the rest of the hockey world. Although New Zealand has had a long time to try getting it right, they just haven't seemed to birth the talent to go up in the ranks. Before we move deeper into the country, let's check out the specifics first.
Team New Zealand:
IIHF Record: 18-21-1
2012 Final Results: Division III Third Place with 2-2-0 record
Head Coach: Stephen Reid (NZL)
While hockey in New Zealand came somewhat early in its history, success has not. The formation of its Ice Hockey Federation came in 1986 and while they have been promoted to Division II twice for IIHF World U20 Junior Ice Hockey Championships, they have only competed there once as they did not attend the 2009 WJCH. One of the more proud moments in New Zealand Ice Hockey history came during the 2012 WJCH as they hosted the Division III portion of the tournament.
In that tournament, the New Zealanders got off to a hot start by defeating Bulgaria 3-1. However victory would soon be forgotten as they dropped the next two games; first to Iceland 7-1 and then China 5-3. They ended up finishing out the tournament with a victory against Turkey 12-1.
There is good news for this team when it comes to the 2013 tournament. Most of their star players will still be eligible for play including Captain Mitchell Frear and Alternate Regan Wilson who are both due back to represent Team New Zealand in black and white. This team is also one of the few to wear colors that do match that of their country's flag; although how many red, white, and blue teams are necessary for one tournament? If everyone did then there would be fifteen teams in those colors. Cheers for originality!
For previous team articles, click the links below
Matt Prosser, Featured Writer for JuniorHockey.com. Owner of Fifty8 Productions and freelance writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Voice of California State University, Sacramento Hockey and host of The Sports Cycle with Matt Prosser on KSSU1580 Sacramento. For comments and writing ventures e-mail Matt@Fifty8productions.com. Follow on Twitter @MattProsser58 or visit www.kssusportsycle.com.