Milestone year for New Zealand NHL
10 Sep 2007 08:09
The 2007 National Hockey League (NHL) in New Zealand will mark a unique historic milestone - the 100 Year anniversary of the Men’s Challenge Shield. The long history of the competition has seen some interesting trends and rivalries develop and no doubt all eight competing Men’s teams would love to see their name engraved on the Shield during this special year.
The 100th Year anniversary of the Women’s K Cup will be celebrated next year (2008). Hockey fans can also be sure of seeing the very best of New Zealand’s talent compete this year, with the vast majority of the Black Sticks Men and Women taking part. The competition has been pushed back one week to allow for maximum participation by the Black Sticks, who will return home in time for the first round after competing at the Oceania Men’s and Women’s Cups the previous week.
Some exciting international players are also sprinkled through the League, in addition to home grown talent. World class Australian captain Brent Livermore is back for Bordeaux Bakery Wellington along with Australia A and under 21 player Mark Paterson. Bayleys Midlands have recruited German striker Philipp Stahr and Australian U21 goalkeeper Ben Creese. Central Mavericks will be boosted by 2007 Australian Development squad member Greg Reece. Southern Men have NSW Waratahs Nathan Gilbert and Simon Beaton on board. Gilbert in particular is an experienced AHL campaigner.
Three of the lower ranked Women’s teams have also gone off shore. Mark Cromie Holden Northland have brought in Australian Country Vice Captain Shannon Worth, while Bayleys Midlands have shopped in Europe for two Dutch players. Kiki Collot d’Escury and Fleur van Dooren are both young players with experience in the top Dutch club competition. Wellington has called in the services of Hockeyroo Teneal Attard who has played 43 games for Australia, most recently in China in August, where the Hockeyroos won the Good Luck Beijing tournament. Southern Storm will have the services of experienced and versatile Hockeyroos defender Rebecca Sanders who has played 89 games for Australia. A second guest player Katie Rushton (midfielder) from Canada will be an unknown quantity. The University of Victoria player played for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) All-Canadian team this year at the Pan Am Games.
Finals Weekend will this year be at North Harbour and will coincide with the Hockey NZ Awards which will be held at the neighboring North Harbour Stadium on Thursday 11 October. Both finals will be televised. A feast of spectacular goal scoring action is expected. In 2006, 204 goals were scored by the Men and 158 by the Women.
Source: Hockey New Zealand