Queenstown ice hockey bad boy Hayden Argyle is ready to prove on and off the rink that he deserves a second chance.
The talented 23-year-old Ice Black is helping out with local youth grades in a bid to make amends with the Queenstown Ice Hockey Club after getting on the wrong side of the law.
Argyle was jailed in February for one month for breaching community work three times. He was also convicted for disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence after drunkenly running out in front of a fire engine, causing it to stop, in January.
Argyle’s got the support of his teammates and management but “he knows he’s got to keep his nose clean”, says Ice Blacks team manager Charlie Reid.
The local club wants him to do volunteer work within ice hockey circles “as sort of a payback for bringing the sport into a bit of disrepute”.
“There’re a lot of young players out there that see Hayden play and look up to him as a player,” Reid says. “He is a very, very skilled ice hockey player and we’ve got to encourage them to look up to him in the right manner.
“He did something that was a bit stupid. We’ve had a good chat to him and said ‘we’ll support you but you’ve got to do the right thing as well’.
Argyle’s been playing in the NZ squad’s four-match series against Finland team HC Storm – the third game’s being held at Queenstown Fun Centre tonight.
The Kiwi team dominated the Finnish squad in the first two matches in Auckland, winning 7-5 and 6-3.
Reid says the games against the northern hemisphere team have been a good test for the Kiwis before they play in the world championships in Dunedin next month.
“It’s what we need – the northern hemisphere teams that come over for worlds, they’ve just finished a full season so they’re game-hardened and game-ready, whereas our last league game was in September. All we’ve really had since then are practices.”
Reid reckons the Storm will be a “different proposition” when they play at the Fun Centre at 7pm tonight. Queenstown has a smaller ice surface than other rinks in NZ.
“It’s more like what they’re used to and it’s where their speed will really come into play.”