|National federation||New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation|
|IIHF since||May 2, 1977|
|Top league||New Zealand Ice Hockey League|
|Current champion||Southern Stampede|
New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Wellington is the capital, and Auckland is the largest city.
|New Zealand Ice Hockey League||2005||-||Top-level national competition|
|New Zealand Championship||1987||2005||Defunct national championship|
|Norm Hawker Shield||1987||?||Defunct club competition|
|Erewhon Cup||1937||-||Cup competition|
|McKerrow Memorial Cup||1958||-||Cup competition|
|New Zealand Women's Ice Hockey League||2014||-||National women's competition|
History of hockey in New Zealand
For some photographs of early teams and games, please see Early New Zealand Photos.
Ice hockey was first played in New Zealand during the 1930s on frozen ponds in South Canterbury with teams consisting of farm workers from the region. The New Zealand Ice Skating Association was founded in 1937 and served as the governing body of all ice sports, including ice hockey. The New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation wasn't founded until September 14, 1986, when all 19 of the country's hockey associations gathered in Tekapo and elected to create a national federation to oversee ice hockey events throughout the country. New Zealand joined the IIHF on May 2, 1977.
The first organized tournament, known as the Erewhon Cup, was contested in Opawa in 1937. In spite of a relative lack of attention from the national skating association, organized hockey was played in all years except from 1939-1945 (due to World War II) and from 1978-1982 (due to the lack of ice caused by warm winters). Some locales with teams during the early years included Mt. Harper, Windwhistle, Tekapo, Irishman Creek, Fairlie, Opawa, Mt. Hull, and Canterbury.
In 1937 and 1938, the previous season's Erewhon Cup winners were challenged to defend their titles. At the Skating Association Meeting on June 7, 1939, it was decided that all ice hockey rinks where clubs were competing for the Erewhon Cup, were required to feature boarded edges at least two inches high.
After the war the Erewhon Cup became a knock-out competition. The Fairlie Ice Hockey Club was formed in 1951 and played friendly matches against Tekapo and Opawa, as well as hosting the Erewhon Cup final at the Fairlie Rink. Tekapo and Opawa met on a wet sheet of ice, with Opawa winning 1-0 in overtime. At the N.Z.I.S.A. Annual Meeting on April 28, 1951, there was a lot of debate about players wearing figure skates while competing. Due to a lack of available hockey skates, it was agreed that figure skates be allowed if the claws were taped and approved by referees prior to the games.
The local rules of ice hockey, which the Erewhon Cup was played under, were revised to conform with international rules in 1952. The Canterbury Rangers claimed the cup and also won the Lake Ida Shield presented by the Lake Ida Company for teams situated above the Waitaki River.
With the emergence of the first indoor rinks, it was decided in 1953 that the Erewhon Cup series would be divided into two sections, outdoor and the indoor, with the winners of each section to meeting in the final and that the final, rotating between indoor and outdoor venues. The same year, a new team known as the International Ice Hockey Club was formed at the Centaurus Rink.
Canterbury was in possession of both the Erewhon Cup and the Lake Ida Shield in 1954. The format for the Erewhon Cup was changed again that year to save teams from traveling long distances for matches, and so the South Island was divided into three sections - Otago, South Canterbury and North Canterbury. An N.Z.I.S.A. ice hockey sub-committee was also formed in 1954.
In 1955 it was decided that players would be required to wear ice hockey skates for all games played under the jurisdiction of the N.Z.I.S.A. A regional Canterbury Ice Hockey Association was in existence by 1956. The association was responsible for all ice hockey played at the indoor Canterbury rink, the supervision of sixty players, a four-hour practice session and an organized match every week. There were no weekly matches played in 1958.
In 1959 a group of hockey enthusiasts chartered a DC3 aircraft from Christchurch to travel to Alexandra. The purpose of the trip was to increase interest in ice hockey in Otago, with the people getting to watch a game between the top sides from the Erewhon Cup and Lake Ida Shield competitions.
The Rangers won the final of the 1960 Ashby Bergh Rose Bowl by defeating the Hawks at the Centaurus Rink. The Tekapo club claimed the Erewhon Cup, defeating International 5-4 in the final, needing a last-second goal to win the trophy. The Rangers repeated as Rose Bowl champions in 1961. There were 16 games played at the Canterbury rink between the Rangers, Wolves, and Hawks, this year, too.
A new competition, known as the McKerrow Memorial Cup (named after a former player, Graham McKerrow, who had drowned when he fell through the ice at a hockey practice at Saltwater Creek in Timaru), was created in 1957 for teams in South Canterbury. In 1963, the Hakoah Club from Melbourne, Australia, paid a visit to New Zealand for a series of games at Christchurch and Tekapo. The first-ever televised hockey game in New Zealand was during their tour, when Hakoah defeated the Christchurch Hawks 8-6. They also beat a Christchurch team 7-3 at Lake Tekapo, the Canterbury Rangers 7-6 and lost to the Christchurch Wolves 12-7.
The indoor ice hockey clubs formed their own governing body, the New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation (different than the organization formed in 1986), in 1964. The object of the federation was the control and advancement of ice hockey in New Zealand. Membership was open to all clubs and provincial associations, but the outdoor clubs affiliated to the NZISA were still able to do their own thing.
At the N.Z.I.S.A. Annual Meeting on April 3, 1965, it was decided that the Erewhon Cup would remain in possession of the governing body and be competed for among the affiliated clubs and played on outdoor ice.. A new club was created in Otago in 1966, known as the Oueenstown Skating and Ice Hockey Club, and in 1968 Oturehua formed a hockey club that went undefeated in its first season of play.
The Erewhon Cup was not contested between 1973 and 1982 and ice hockey was played only on an informal basis for much of the 1970s. In 1975 a national tournament was contested, but it was not under the jurisdiction of the N.Z.I.S.A. The Erewhon Cup was re-started in 1983, with the Canterbury IHA winning the first of three consecutive titles. Presently, the tournament is held in Tekapo, or Naseby as a back-up if there is no ice in Tekapo. It is open to teams from the Southern Ice Hockey League (SIHL). The cup was given to the league in 1992.
The national championship, featuring provincial select teams, was first contested in 1987 and won by Canterbury. The inaugural club competition for the Norm Hawker Shield took place the same year. It was played at the Big Apple rink in Christchurch. The tournament, which ran from June 19-21, was composed of 10 teams and was won by the Manuwai Warriors of Auckland. The New Zealand Ice Hockey League was founded as the country's national league in 2005. The Auckland, Canterbury, and Dunedin federations all organize their own league competitions as well.
The men's national team, also known as the Ice Blacks, made its international debut in 1987, playing in the D Pool of the World Championships. They finished in third place out of four teams, beating Hong Kong twice. One of their games at the tournament was a 58-0 loss to Australia. After returning to compete in 1989, New Zealand did not play in the World Championships again until 1995. They have won the Division III tournament on three occasions - 2003, 2007, and 2009. The national team has competed at the Division II level since 2010.
The women's national team first appeared on the international scene in 2005, playing in Division IV of the IIHF World Women's Championships. They won the Division IV tournament in 2011, and have competed at the Division II level since 2012.
The junior national team first played in the IIHF World U20 Championship in 2004, competing in Division III. They won the Division III tournament in 2008. The U18 national team participated in the IIHF Asian Oceanic U18 Championships five times between 1998 and 2003. They won the Division II tournament in 2000 In 2002, New Zealand finished third overall in the competition.