Imports stamping ground

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A Google image of Queenstown was enough to sell newbie Stampede player Colin McIntosh on living here.

The Canadian import planned to move “down under” but didn’t know if he’d go to Aussie or New Zealand until a mutual friend passed on his details to Stampede stalwart Mike McRae.

After a chat, McIntosh agreed to come and brought fellow Canadian Jeremy Akeson with him. The duo landed in Queenstown last week.

Akeson admits to feeling pressure but he’s ready to get stuck in.

“It’s definitely exciting to be part of it.

“You practise twice a week and we don’t have our first [league] game for a couple of weeks so there is plenty of time to gel with the guys on and off the ice.”

The pair will be joined by other imports Canadian Kyle Mulder, Finn Tomi Martikainen – who’ve both been in town a few months – and McRae. Captain Matt Schneider, also from Canada, qualifies as a NZ resident this year.

McIntosh, 29, who played with Akeson in New York State’s Watertown Wolves in the pro Federal Hockey League last season, brings with him a wealth of experience.

“I haven’t heard a bad word about the organisation, the town or the country, so I am coming in with big expectations.”

Stampede’s season opener is against the Canterbury Red Devils next weekend at the Queenstown Ice Arena.

louises@scene.co.nz