As the end of the summer rolls around and everyone is looking forward to the Ice Hockey season starting up again, there is a group of elite Womens Ice Hockey players in New Zealand in the most important time of the hockey calendar.
The New Zealand Ice Fernz are heading to Valdemoro in Spain for the IIHF Div 2B world champs starting on the 17th of March.
24 skaters and 3 goaltenders are finishing up their training camp in Toronto this week where they have been training with the Toronto Leaside Wildcats. While in Toronto the Fernz got a bit of pretty good publicity from the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs.Read more about the Ice Fernz stay in Toronto here
The Ice Fernz are heading into this tournament with the goal of promotion into division 2A after narrowly missing out last year and ending up with a bronze. Having players such as last year’s best forward of the tournament, Anj Thakker in the squad, the promotion could be within their reach.
The next generations of Ice Fernz have just finished up their defence of the gold medal in the IIHF Challenge cup of Asia. The U18’s ended up with a Silver medal after losing only one game against Chinese Taipei. The challenge cup is targeted towards nations developing ice hockey such as India and Thailand. It’s a perfect environment for the New Zealand Under 18 Women’s team to test their skills and at the same time experience international competition.
Even at a local level, Womens hockey seems to be thriving with Auckland playing their part in the Global girls hockey game in which teams all over the world compete over 2 days. Auckland had 20 skaters competing which kicked off a collective game between 39 countries which team ‘Blue’ beat out team ‘White’ 134 goals to 129.
Womens hockey in New Zealand seems to be heading in the right direction, with the success of the U18’s in the Challenge cup and the Ice Fernz pushing for promotion this year, we could be looking at a future with a far bigger group of Women hockey players than the current 250 registered players nationwide.
To follow the Ice Fernz Progress in Spain, check out their facebook page orthe IIHF Website http://www.iihf.com/competition/660/