In­ter­na­tional call-up

‘Ag­gres­sive’ game grabs his at­ten­tion

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By JIM CHIPP

Ni­cholas Robert­son loves the big hits of in-line hockey.

The Whitby de­sign stu­dent is likely to dish them out and be on the re­ceiv­ing end at the high­est level later this year.

He has been se­lected for the New Zealand un­der-21 squad to travel to Cal­i­for­nia.

The team will play in the Ama­teur Ath­letic Union In-Line Hockey Ju­nior Olympic Games in Hunt­ing­ton Beach and in the 2013 Fed­er­a­tion In­ter­na­tionale Roller­sports In-line Hockey World Cup in Ana­heim.

Robert­son plays de­fence for Cap­i­tal Pen­guins based in Kil­birnie in the lower North Is­land league. He said he had ini­tially played field hockey. ‘‘What got me into field hockey was ice hockey. I had al­ways loved the sport,’’ he said.

Then he trav­elled to New Ply­mouth to watch the na­tional in-line hockey cham­pi­onships and he was hooked. ‘‘I love the skill, how it is the whole package – skill, strength, speed, strat­egy. And I love how ag­gres­sive it is.’’

Many of the skills are very sim­i­lar to ice hockey, he said.

‘‘There are some re­stric­tions there are quite a lot of the same plays, like block­ing, which is the art of hit­ting peo­ple.

‘‘ Ob­vi­ously, you can’t just go out and hit some­one. In ice hockey, you’re al­lowed to hit any­one, really, as long as they are in the play. In in-line hockey you can’t just hit them, you’ve got to kind of guide them on to the boards. It’s more guided hit­ting.’’

The New Zealand team will take a trav­el­ling squad of 16, in­clud­ing two goal­keep­ers. In the games, there are four play­ers on the rink at any time with con­stant in­ter­changes.

‘‘It’s a quite in­ten­sive, it’s quite anaer­o­bic and all the move­ments just ex­haust you,’’ Robert­son said.

Photo: JIM CHIPP

Big hits: Ni­cholas Robert­son of Whitby has been se­lected for the New Zealand un­der-21 in-line hockey squad to play in the United States.

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