Team rise to challenge
Out of season and in a team put together at the last minute, the Southern Knights Pee Wee ice hockey team returned with a third placing at their first international tournament in Adelaide last week. Coach Nick Flight said the team of under-14s played out of their skins to move through to the semifinals without a loss against the five older Australian teams, before losing the semi but winning the play-off for third. ‘‘The Australian level of hockey is quite a bit higher than ours. We went hoping to win a game and it turns out we beat all the teams in the competition before losing in the semifinal,’’ he said. The team was put together over a week once it was confirmed the tournament would be held and included Queenstown members Jackson Flight, Heath Pankhurst and Harrison Mills while Taz Hall, Ben and Lachie Miller represented Alexandra. The remainder of the team were from Gore, Dunedin and two invited players from Auckland. Ben Miller was named most valued player. The team operated on New Zealand time while there with some games starting at 6.30am each day. The strategy worked with huge improvements made in the first few days, Mr Flight said. Their first warm-up game against the team which ultimately won the tournament, the South Australian Sharks, saw them lose 10-1. It was the first time on the ice for any of the members since midOctober and their first game together as a team. They won against the same team the next day in a shoot-out and ultimately beat them during the tournament 4-3. ‘‘They only lost one game in the whole tournament and it happened to be the semifinals. We were absolutely stoked with that.’’
Action man: Wanaka multi-sportsman Braden Currie led the pack from start to finish during the Augusta Adventure Festival race while defending his title in Australia earlier this month.
Paddling: Queenstown athletes competing in the kayak section of the Central Otago 24-hour adventure race in Cromwell on Saturday. From front: Brent Heardson, Karl Johnson and Marty McDonald.