While New Zealand has frequently hosted various divisions of international ice hockey tournaments in recent years, this tour hasn’t hit our shores since 2011 and this time the Ice Hockey Classic will include an outdoor game to be hosted in Wellington at Westpac Stadium – making it the first outdoor hockey game in the Southern Hemisphere to be held in a major stadium. There will also be games at Auckland’s Spark Arena and Queenstown’s Ice Arena.
TEG Live state that the USA and Canada exhibition teams will feature a collection of current stars, illustrious veterans, plus promising young talent that will showcase the speed and skill of international ice hockey. Previous tours have featured the likes of Brent Burns, Scott Darling, Kyle Quincey, and Mike Commodore.
Commodore captained the Canadian side for the 2017 Ice Hockey Classic and mentions that he thoroughly enjoyed the series. “It was great to see so many passionate ice hockey fans come out and support us in Australia,” Commodore said. “Touring Australia with the Ice Hockey Classic has been a highlight in my career and it will be fantastic to reignite the rivalry with USA (in) New Zealand for yet another year.”
Hosting an outdoor hockey game takes a lot of work as seen on the ‘Road to the Winter Classic’ documentary series that follows the progress of the NHL teams and ice crew as they prepare for the annual event, but it’s a challenge that Westpac Stadium’s chief executive Shane Harmon is aware of and excited for.
“The team have a 72-hour turnaround period to build, freeze, unfreeze and dismantle the rink. But we believe it is worth the effort to create such an exciting and innovative event experience for fans,” Harmon told Stuff.
Auckland: June 22, tickets range from $79 to $199.
Wellington: June 23, tickets range from $31 to $171.50.
Queenstown: June 28, standing for $81.50, $101.50 for unreserved seating.
(Photos supplied by TEG Live)