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Ice time: Queenstown Ice Hockey Club's U12s 'Superhero League' skating up a storm

By LUCY WORMALD

Getting little legs on the ice has been the focus of Southern Ice Hockey League (SIHL) after receiving a $2000 grant from New Zealand Community Trust for youth tournament ice  time.

The SIHL region comprises Queenstown, Tekapo, Gore, Alexandra and Dunedin.

Each club received a portion of the funding to help make under-12 tournaments possible for aspiring ice hockey players.

Queenstown Ice Hockey Club (QIHC) president Tania Pimm says ice time doesn’t come cheap, and the funding goes a long way in helping keep participation levels up.

‘‘It just helps everybody with those costs … and it’s great at that level of U12, it’s that  early grassroots development sort of level, and it’s awesome to be able to contribute towards that.’’

Queenstown’s club hosted an U12 tournament last month — their funding going straight
into as much ice time as possible for the players.

The tournament played cross-ice hockey, splitting the rink into two mini rinks, where each player was on ice for one minute before swapping out.

‘‘It’s a bit like organised chaos because there’s kids everywhere, and hockey gear everywhere, and parents, and laces getting done up, but it works,” Pimm says.

It’s all about giving kids the opportunity to ‘‘really give it a go’’ to see if they love the sport, she says.

‘‘With our club, for the first two years, we have equipment for these kids … it’s [about]
creating those opportunities really, and making it as easy as possible for kids and families.’’

QIHC also runs a ‘Learn to Play’ programme for any kids interested in trying out the sport, a Thursday night ‘Superhero League’ with “awesome jerseys and little trophies”, and is home to U9 and U12 tournament teams.

lucy.wormald@scene.co.nz