Mad-keen hockey players have to drive 4000km a year.
Queenstown’s diehard hockey players have to be the most dedicated sports people in the resort.
They clock up thousands of kilometres a year pursuing their favourite game – but it doesn’t bother them a bit.
No less than 78 hockey buffs travel about 120km up to three times a week just to compete and train in Cromwell – the nearest place with a full-sized hockey pitch.
Bradley Boyd, 16, who plays for the Queenstown Blue Senior B and the Queenstown Men’s teams, racks up 120 hours of game and travel time each season.
“I want to play the game because it’s enjoyable and I don’t even think about the travel,” Bradley says.
Kim Boyd, mother of Bradley and his two hockey-playing brothers Logan, 13, and Aiden, 8 (whose team she also coaches), says her family is hockey-mad.
“We don’t even think about the costs. If there’s a game we jump in the car and just go for it.”
Wakatipu players have a quarter-sized training pitch at Lake Hayes Estate but actual matches are played in Cromwell – rep teams train there, too.
It means families such as the Boyds can be averaging up to 360km on the road each week – that’s around 4000km a season.
“I never hear people complaining,” Kim Boyd says.
“A lot don’t even car pool because all they want to do is see their kids play.”
She also insists the sport is getting more popular in Queenstown, with a noticeable increase in participants each year.
Eight-year-old Aiden says he wants to be a Black Stick one day so all the travel time is worth it. “I’d be playing PlayStation or something if I wasn’t playing hockey.”
Local players will scatter even further afield this weekend with the start of week-long national tournaments around the country on Monday. Eight members of the Queenstown Blue Senior B team are in action.
Kate Gilbert heads to Auckland with the Otago under-16 reps for the national premier U16 tournie.
Gilbert, 15, is driven to Dunedin twice a week by her mum to attend Otago rep practices and matches.
Locals in the Central Otago team at the U16 boys tournament in Timaru next week are Max Macharg, Willem
van der Kaag, Michael Bennett, Bradley Boyd, Logan Boyd, Jonty Norton and Jack Gilbert.
Natalya van den Boom, Jordon Howell, Shelby Tuinman-Bell and Kate Bradford travel to Christchurch with the Central Otago U16 girls development squad for a tournie.