Local rivals: The Black Jurassics and Queenstown Quest after their showdown in Dunedin


Greg Rotto’s the last of the Mohicans.

The founder of Queenstown’s Jurassic ice hockey league is now the last active player from the original band of brothers.

That was a club of two until October, when former resort resident Gary Healey played his last game for the Black Jurassics masters team.

Rotto, 62, says he and Healey were the elder statesmen after 22 years of doing battle  together with the Black Jurassics.

‘‘Now I’m the last one standing.’’

Rotto’s responsible for starting the Wednesday night ‘‘shinny hockey’’ games in 1996, the year the Queenstown Ice Arena opened, which morphed the following year into the Jurassic league.

He’s still organising the eight-team league, which next year will mark its 25th anniversary.

‘‘We think it might be the longest-running social league in New Zealand.’’

He describes its ethos as ‘‘argy-bargy’’.

‘‘Have fun, play hard but don’t be dirty and don’t use sticks.’’

He’s not planning on hanging up his skates yet — ‘‘so long as I’m organising it, I get to play’’.

Also in 1997, he was instrumental in forming the Black Jurassics team for Jurassic league players aged 35 and older.

It’s been contesting masters tournaments all over the country ever since, although in recent years only in Dunedin.

Healey, meanwhile, called time on the game after the Black Jurassics’ last-gasp victory over Queenstown Quest at the recent masters tournament in Dunedin.

The 57-year-old ostensibly quit the game in 2016 after moving to Canterbury, but made an exception once a year for the Black Jurassics at the annual Dunedin tourney.

He tells Mountain Scene that arthritis in both wrists had forced him to focus on his ‘‘lesser of two evils’’ — classic motorbike racing.

‘‘Hockey’s the best game in the world and I’m gutted to give it up.’’