Queenstown’s champion SkyCity Stampede side’s supplying no fewer than eight Ice Blacks for the Division 2 Group B world ice hockey champs starting in Sofia, Bulgaria, which starts today.

Pictured from left are Colin McIntosh, Stefan Amston, Callum Burns, Connor Harrison, Dylan Devlin and Joel Hasselman, along with, bottom left, equipment manager Nate Hedwig.

The contingent, who flew out last Tuesday, have been joined in Sofia by Spain-based Ryan Strayer and Vietnam-based Matt Schneider.

Stampede coach Cam Frear, the Ice Blacks’ co-head coach, believes this is the largest local contingent in about 10 years.

‘‘We’re going there to win gold, that’s what we’ve set as our expectation.’’

Also in their group are the host country, Turkey, Belgium, Georgia and Chinese Taipei.

Frear says prep’s been a bit challenging as the local rink only reopened last Friday, however some players have driven to Gore and Dunedin to train, and some have taken up inline hockey.

‘‘They’ve done whatever they need to do to try and be as ready as they can be.’’

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