Heartbreak for Ice Blacks


Queenstown’s Ice Blacks captain says a one-minute lapse ruined their chances at the ice hockey division two group B world champs.

They had heading into the tournament in Mexico.

Bert Haines, who has captained the team since 2012, says the boys are disappointed with the result - but admits they underperformed as a team.

The lapse was during a game against the host nation, who scored two successive goals after the 45th minute.

“That changed everything for us and we let ourselves down.”

That was its second match in the tournament, that started April 9, having previously beaten Israel 6-3.

Haines says the team played superbly in both matches, but were unable to rebound quickly enough to win their second game.

Up next was a surprise loss to North Korea. Defeat was due in part to “stupid penalties” and play they couldn’t get right.

The result was heart-breaking.

Haines: “We played an awesome game of hockey. It was a game we should have won and won by a margin - it was a complete disappointment.”

The team had been optimistic going into the champs, after a nine-day training camp en route. It focused on gelling as a team, as well as offensive tactics.

Back in New Zealand, Haines says the team will take lessons from the games, including more personal responsibility, mental preparation and focus on rebounds.

The team created opportunities, he says, but was unable to finish them.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Queenstowner Callum Burns had a belter of a game against Bulgaria, scoring a hat-trick in the Ice Blacks’ 14-1 spanking.

Unfortunately, the tournament had a bitter end, thanks to a 6-2 defeat to Australia.

Clearly disappointed, the poor performance has put paid to rumours of Haines’ retirement.

For him, it’s a matter of unfinished business and he is relishing the prospect of leading the Ice Blacks to victory – particularly if NZ hosts the champs next year.