By GUY WILLIAMS
SkyCity Stampede defenceman Mitchell Frear racked up his 200th game in the New Zealand Ice Hockey League last Saturday.
He’s only the sixth player in league history to reach the mark, and at 27, the youngest.
But such milestones are not surprising for a player who made his debut for Stampede in 2007 as a 14-year-old — the youngest-ever for any team — and he hopes to notch up a few more.
‘‘Hopefully I’ve got a few years left in me,’’ Frear says.
‘‘I still love it, so as long as the body holds out, I’ll keep playing.’’
A four-time league champ with Stampede, his 200 games include two seasons with the Dunedin Thunder from 2012 to 2014.
He’s a member of Queenstown’s first family of ice hockey, with father Niel managing the Stampede, older brother Cam chief coach, and younger bro Lachlan, 24, playing forward.
He describes his own role as a ‘‘stay-at-home’’ defenceman.
‘‘I’m not really out there scoring goals, but doing my best to help the goalies out and pretty much keep the score as low as possible.’’
The Stampede remain unbeaten this season after defeating the West Auckland Admirals 6-0 and 9-1 in Auckland last weekend.
The games were more competitive than the scores suggest, but the team’s happy with how it’s tracking, Frear says.
‘‘We don’t really look at what other teams are doing; we have our own expectations of
what we need to do.
‘‘There’s still a bit to improve on, but we’re getting there.’’
Stampede beat the winless Canterbury Red Devils in Christchurch last night, 8-7.