|New Zealand Ice Hockey League|
|No. of teams||5|
|Most recent champion(s)||Southern Stampede (4th title)|
|Most championship(s)||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 competition is comparable to North America's lowest professional levels, impressive for a southern hemisphere country in the sport of ice hockey.
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.
|Team||City||Arena||Joined NZIHL||Minor Premierships||Runner Up||Championships|
|West Auckland Admirals||Avondale, Auckland||Paradice, Avondale||2005||-||2||-|
|Botany Swarm||Botany Downs, Auckland||Paradice, Botany Downs||2005||3||1||4|
|Canterbury Red Devils||Christchurch, Canterbury||Alpine Ice Centre||2005||4||2||4|
|Southern Stampede||Queenstown, Otago||Queenstown Ice Arena||2005||2||3||2|
|Dunedin Thunder||Dunedin, Otago||Dunedin Ice Stadium||2008||1||2||-|
The NZIHL had four founding 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.
The Dunedin Thunder joined the competition in 2008 which saw the Southern Stampede move all its home games to Queenstown.
Current Season StructureEdit
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 StructureEdit
- 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.
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.
Toa Kauhanga Riri TioEdit
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 at the holders Sunday home matches. The trophy was designed and built by Wellington craftsman Mark Newnham.
Skate Of OriginEdit
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 has previously captained the New Zealand national side, the Ice Blacks.
|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|
Trans-Tasman Champions LeagueEdit
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|
|2016||Queenstown, New Zealand|
|Competitions around the World|
Asia League - Bahrain - CIHL Hong Kong - China - Hong Kong - India - Indonesia - Japan - Kuwait - Kyrgyzstan - Macau - Malaysia - Mongolia - North Korea - Philippines - Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Macau League - Singapore - South Korea - Taiwan - Thailand - Turkmenistan - Uzbekistan
Australia - New Zealand
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