Ice Blacks NZIHL

Say goodbye to a piece of NZ ice hockey history

From 2013 to early 2017, was where fans would go to watch live and on-demand streams of the NZIHL, the Ice Blacks, junior IIHF tournaments, plus the occasional game of inline hockey. But come next Saturday, that will no longer be the case – four years of New Zealand’s hockey history is scheduled to be deleted.

The Livestream account that is home to this great archive is up for its annual renewal and likely won’t be renewed for 2018.

You might be wondering how such a thing could happen? Well, that account belongs to Jez Brown of Slapshot Productions – whom would typically keep that Livestream page running because it was needed for producing live game broadcasts across New Zealand. But after being unceremoniously dumped by the NZIHL and NZIHF earlier this year, Slapshot is no longer required to provide and maintain this service.

The Botany Swarm prepare to take on the Dunedin Thunder, circa 2015.
The loss of Slapshot Productions was a sore topic for the Puck Yeah team, with their absence felt by many fans during the 2017 NZIHL season. We dedicated an entire podcast episode on the matter at the time it was all happening – like many of you, we were concerned about how the changes would affect the viewing experience for fans. One season later, we know what we’re getting from the current NZIHL live streaming set up, but let’s save that discussion for another day.

Amongst the soon-to-be-disappearing archive you’ll find the thrilling Birgel Cup championship runs by the Canterbury Red Devils and Skycity Stampede, the Skate Of Origin, plus who could forget the fantastic weekly highlight show TopShelf?

The opening titles for TopShelf – a weekly NZIHL highlights show that ran on Livestream in 2015.
Games from this year onwards can be found online via Facebook, including the official pages of the NZIHL and the Ice Blacks – but to see so many of New Zealand’s recent games disappear from the internet would be a shame. Some might rest a little easier knowing that all those games are still backed up on hard drives and stored away, but they don’t last forever and then those old games may never see the light of day again if the old Livestream archive isn’t replaced.

Having no online access to those games is an issue the New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation should look into resolving for the sake of preserving part of our country’s history on the ice.

Whether that happens remains to be seen. In the meantime – be sure to get your fix in before next Saturday.

Main photo: Rachel van Luyt

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