A clash of ice hockey titans in Queenstown this winter will be fuelled by the sting of perceived injustice.
Queenstown’s Southern Stampede face 2012 league champions Canterbury Red Devils twice on the first weekend of American Express Queenstown Winter Festival, June 22 and 23.
It will be their first encounter since the Devils beat Stampede in last season’s final with a controversial shoot-out goal.
Stampede players were outraged when officials initially signalled a no-goal – with the puck judged to have stopped as the Devils player performed a spin – only to reverse their decision and hand Canterbury the title.
“I’d say it’ll be a pretty good grudge match,” captain Simon Glass says.
“And [former Stampede] Brett Speirs now plays for Canterbury. He’s obviously a really good mate of ours, so we’ll be going hard against him particularly.”
Stampede also face Botany Swarm on the final festival weekend – with all four games at Queenstown Ice Arena.
The season begins this weekend against with away matches in Auckland against the Swarm.
Ice Blacks captain Bert Haines and imports Mike Weber and Tommy Zizian return this year, along with new overseas blood. Braden Lee also returns after a year in Canada.