Flatmates score bronze
THREE Kingsland flatmates are on a high after picking up a bronze medal in their favourite sport - ice hockey.
The Ice Blacks competed at the world champs in Spain this month and one household contributed three players to the national side.
Nick Henderson, 23, lives with fellow Ice Blacks Sam Moses and Nick Craig who all play for the West Auckland Admirals.
They were up against some tough competition from China, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa and host nation Spain.
The team showed promising form in the opening match by beating Turkey 6-3.
Henderson says the highlight of the tournament was the hardfought win against China in overtime.
‘‘About four or five years ago we were losing to China on a regular basis and by a big margin,’’ he says.
‘‘Last year was my first year, so to beat them last year and this year, it shows how far New Zealand hockey has come.’’
Moses is a personal trainer by day and plays a big part in keeping his flatmates match-fit.
Training camps also provide a great opportunity to dust off the cobwebs before such a big event, Henderson says.
‘‘It’s tough to get the full side together. But we have a week-long squad camp in early February and it gets everyone used to the systems we run,’’ he says.
‘‘Before tournament started we had 12 days in the Czech Republic and that’s the best part, we are on the ice four hours a day and had four warm-up games against local Czech teams, which are really tough.’’
The team had three wins and two losses in the champs, going down to Mexico and the eventual winners – Spain.
Coach Andreas Kaisser says the result means the team, currently ranked 37th in the world, may jump up one place in the rankings.
Kaisser says the international tournaments are extremely beneficial for player development.
‘‘It gives our players a good chance to compare themselves to other countries and to see what level they are at,’’ he says.
Kaisser has seen interest in the sport grow in the last decade but says it still isn’t at the level he would like it to be.
‘‘I believe the biggest step to go further with our national team is to get enough money so we can actually travel and select the best players from New says.
‘‘This would generate more competition for positions in the team and drive younger players to become a national team player.’’
Great shot: Hazel Coward with her hole-inone trophy she received in 1980 after scoring an ace on the ninth hole at the Whitford Park Country Club.