Hockey livestream put on ice
The only live broadcast provider of New Zealand ice hockey games has been axed.
The New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation (NZIHF) and the New Zealand Ice Hockey League (NZIHL) have both dumped a local livestream service that has been running since 2012.
Slapshot Productions are the sole provider of live coverage for all International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) tournaments in New Zealand as well as more than 200 NZIHL games over the past four years.
The news comes just two months before the 2017 Division II Group B IIHF World Championships are to be held in Auckland, which will be the first time since 2009 the Ice Blacks will compete on home ice in an IIHF tournament.
General secretary of the NZIHF Jonathan Albright said the decision was made due to the costs of the service exceeding the organisation’s budget.
‘‘The cost for streaming would put the budget in the red,’’ Albright said.
‘‘If we were to do the live streaming, the funds would come out of junior development, which we simply cannot afford to do.’’
However, the decision has created division among the ice hockey community, with many volunteers and organisers left scratching their heads.
Jez Brown, director of Slapshot Productions, said both decisions came out of the blue.
‘‘The position it leaves us in makes the business basically untenable,’’ Brown said.
‘‘We’re probably going to have to wrap-up the business, and that’s very sad.’’
Slapshot’s exodus will also see the loss of more than 50 of its volunteers.
‘‘Those people aren’t happy,’’ Brown said. ‘‘I don’t know if they are going to stay involved or not.
‘‘I really don’t think they realise what they’re losing. It’s not just about the video coverage, it’s so much bigger than that.’’
Since Slapshot began livestreaming the five-team NZIHL - of which the West Auckland Admirals and the Botany Swarm are a part of - viewer numbers had soared.
In 2015, it had more than 38,000 views, and in 2016 that number reached 81,000.
NZIHL general manager Paul Scott said it would not end livestreaming altogether however, and it was working towards an alternative.
Stampede’s Ryan Strayer.