Queenstown ready for Ice Blacks

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Queenstown ice hockey player Cameron Frear will line up against his own team for the Ice Blacks this weekend.

Frear – who played his 100th league game on Saturday – will take to the ice for the New Zealand national team when they play Southern Stampede.

The two exhibition matches take place at Queenstown Ice Arena tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday from 7pm.

Stampede captain Simon Glass says: “It was his 100th at the weekend so it’s great for him.

“Cameron is our only player lining up for the Ice Blacks.

“Bert [Haines – Ice Blacks captain] is playing for Stampede probably – but he’s been nursing an injury so we’re not sure he’ll play at all yet.

“We want to beat them and they won’t want to be beaten so I’d say it will be quite a tough match, a good spectacle.”

The games come after a tough two weeks for the Stampede. They were on the ice six nights out of eight over Queenstown Winter Festival with double-headers against Canterbury Red Devils and Botany Swarm and training sessions.

Stampede lost 9-8 in a shootout to the Devils in the first match before losing 6-5 to an overtime goal in the second.

They beat Swarm 7-6 with an overtime goal before losing 10-6 the next night.

All four games were physical contests – with the first against the Swarm descending into a brawl after Stampede goalie Kane Easterbrook celebrated his team’s first goal.

Easterbook – a former Swarm player – was taken out by an opponent sparking a team on team punch up.

“He gave them a bit of stick and one of their players reacted,” Glass says, “I think it was one of their import players who probably didn’t realise the history.

“He skated from the other end so had a fair bit of speed on when he did it.

“It went from a goal celebration to an altercation – I’d say by league standards it was fairly big. You don’t see it as much these days, the league has tightened up on fighting.”

Easterbrook was withdrawn from the game by Stampede while Adam Blanchette was sent off for the rest of the game. His suspension, along with those earned by Glass, Mike McRea and Jeremy Brucker against Canterbury, could be served for the Ice Blacks game.

“It’s still a sanctioned game by the New Zealand Federation so hopefully we can,” Glass says.

“Then we can go into the final part of the league season with a full roster.”