by Greta Yeoman
A contingent of Australian ice hockey players are bound for Tekapo next week.
Mackenzie Ice Hockey club is set to host the Queensland under-15 ice hockey team on Wednesday and Thursday next week, as part of a short tournament tour.
Club president Jaime Linton said the travelling team would play Mackenzie’s Bull Tahrs U15 team on the Wednesday night.
The Australians would have a training session at the Tekapo rink on Thursday morning before competing against the Tekapo team again in the evening.
Mr Linton said the Australian visit would be a first for the club and had been organised as a “mini tour” by a member of the Tekapo club who had known the Australian coach for a while.
The Queenslanders play a game against the Dunedin Penguins U15 team earlier in the week before travelling to South Canterbury for the double-match event.
They then travel to Queenstown, to play the Stampede’s U15 team.
Mr Linton said the games would be the first time a young Australian side had played its Tekapo counterpart and members of the public were welcome to watch the two transtasman matches.
The games, both to be held at the rink at Tekapo Springs, would begin at 7pm.
The Tekapo teams had been having some “really good” games this season so far, he said.
The Bull Tahr U15 side had their first loss of the season to the Dunedin Penguins during a match in the southern city on June 16, 6-1.
This was followed by a “convincing” 12-1 win over the Gore Grizzlies the following day, Mr Linton said.
The Tekapo U12 team also had two wins and one loss during the Dunedin-based tournament.
“Both teams played some great hockey,” he said.
The Queensland state U15 team will play the Tekapo Bull Tahr U15 team on July 4 and 5, both games starting at 7pm.