‘The Frosty Spot’ trailer released

Long gone are the days of the Kilbirnie rink, but ice hockey is making a strong comeback in New Zealand’s capital thanks to the dedication of a few.

This is their story, this is The Frosty Spot. Available from June 16 on YouTube.

PUCK YEAH 55: Justin Daigle

On this week’s podcast we’re doing a Puck Yeah first and making the whole show available as a video. This episode is also available on iTunes, Spotify and SoundCloud.

West Auckland Admirals captain Justin Daigle joins Joe from our Auckland studio, with Logan dialling in from Sydney, to talk about winning the NZIHL championship in 2018, recovering from a horrific eye injury that almost ended his career, coaching the New Zealand Under-20s, and much more!

Note: With Logan overseas covering the New Zealand Ice Blacks, this will be our last podcast for a few weeks until he returns home.

Main photo: Mike Froger

PUCK YEAH 54: Adrian Volpe, Goalie Coach Extraordinaire

This week we’re looking into the weird science of hockey goaltending and our special guest Adrian Volpe knows all about it.

Volpe enjoyed two seasons in the NZIHL as a Canadian import goalie with the Skycity Stampede as part of their impressive run of three Birgel Cup titles in three years. These days he’s back home in Burlington, ON working as a goalie coach with his old junior team, the Burlington Cougars of the OJHL.

Check out Volpe on Instagram (@goaliecoachvolpe29) where he regularly posts videos from this trainings. Perhaps one day we’ll be saying he coached the next Carey Price or Marc-Andre Fluery?

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Main Photo: Mike Froger

PUCK YEAH 53: Ice Fernz head coach Rachel Park

The international ice hockey window is hitting its busy period with four New Zealand national teams in play over the next month.

One such team is the New Zealand Ice Fernz, who are currently in the finals days of their brief training camp at the Sports Zentrum in St. Pölten, Austria.

Under the guidance of new head coach Rachel Park, the national women’s team are looking to push themselves to the next level of international competition when they take part in the 2019 IIHF Division 2-B Women’s World Championship in Brasov, Romania from April 1st.

The Ontario native joins the podcast this week to talk about her new role, the current state of the team and the women’s game in general, plus we discuss some of the adjustments she’s made to strengthen the squad within her first few months at the helm.

Puck Yeah Podcast is available to stream on iTunes, Spotify and SoundCloud with new episodes released every Wednesday.

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Main Photo: Elvar Freyr

PUCK YEAH 52: This Team Is Ruining My Life with Steve Dangle

From hockey YouTuber, to podcaster, sports broadcaster, and now a published author – the media career of Steve ‘Dangle’ Glynn has enjoyed a strange path that is both fascinating and inspiring.

Dangle is a noted Toronto Maple Leafs fan, and while they are the team that is “ruining his life,” he joins the podcast this week to talk about the humbling process of writing his first book, being involved with Sportsnet’s coverage of the NHL’s trade deadline day, and other recent highlights.

His book ‘This Team Is Ruining My Life (But I Love Them)’ is available now from Booktopia and Book Depository for New Zealand and Australia.

This episode is dedicated to the 50 people who lost their lives on March 15th 2019 in the Christchurch terrorist attacks. Kia kaha, Christchurch.

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Dangle on the desk with Sportsnet’s Caroline Cameron.

PUCK YEAH 51: Southern Storming with Kellye Nelson & Angelique Mawson

The NZWIHL has wrapped up the 2019 season with the Southern Storm claiming the championship, ending both the Auckland Steel’s dominance and their own losing streak.

A highlight of their bounce back campaign has been the play of Minnesota native Kellye Nelson, who ran away with the league scoring race tallying 35 points in 12 games (25 goals, 10 assists). She joins the podcast this week to talk about the Storm, life in Queenstown, and how she came to be in a VISA commercial with Team USA star Hilary Knight.

Along with Kellye, we wrap up this week’s episode with Storm head coach Angelique Mawson, who also coaches the New Zealand Women’s Under-18 team that will be competing at the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia next month.

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PUCK YEAH 50: Strength and Conditioning with Chris Eaden

It’s our 50th episode! And to celebrate we’re talking fitness with the man behind the successful Eaden Project gym, Chris Eaden.

Chris is a big impact player in New Zealand ice hockey. Whether it be his strength and conditioning role with the NZIHF to prepare national teams for competition, being the Canterbury Red Devils captain, or the fact that he’s the all-time leading scorer in the New Zealand Ice Hockey League with 203 goals in 168 games.

Away from the rink he’s making a difference in Christchurch by introducing Cantabrians to a healthy lifestyle.

This week he joins the podcast to chat about how training for hockey has evolved as the game gets faster, getting the Ice Blacks fit for IIHF Worlds, and the struggles of being on a rebuilding team after years of success.

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Main photo: Josh Fraser

PUCK YEAH 49: Meet The Foxes

We’re celebrating all things love on this week’s edition of the podcast!

January saw New Zealand Inline Ferns captain Tara Tissink marry the love of her life, Courtney Fox – whom just happens to be the Ferns team manager.

Together the newlywed Foxes join the podcast to talk about their big day and how preparations are shaping up for the Inline Ferns ahead of the 2019 World Roller Games in Barcelona.

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Photos: Nicola Blackwell

What’s happening with Puck Yeah in 2019?

Dear reader,

I thought it was about time I gave you an update on the state of Puck Yeah and what’s happening with the website and podcast that I like to call ‘New Zealand’s home of hockey’ for 2019.

Well first of all, we’re based out of Australia now. My wife Sarah and I have packed up our lives in Auckland and moved across the ditch to Sydney after she was offered an incredible job opportunity that had to be taken – the crazy thing is this all started to happen a week after our wedding, so there’s been a couple big life decisions of late.

And yes, my Puck Yeah podcast co-host Joe Durie was one of my groomsmen – he looks pretty decent in a suit I might add.

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Photo: Christina Stirpe

Upon learning this news, those I am close with amongst New Zealand’s ice hockey community firstly congratulated Sarah and I on our recent wedding and secondly, a recurring question was asked: what does that mean for Puck Yeah and the NZIHL’s media coverage?

Rest assured Puck Yeah will continue on! The way our coverage of the 2018 NZIHL season was received was overwhelmingly positive and it meant a lot to me personally knowing that all those hours of hard work were being appreciated by the very people it’s intended to benefit: the hockey players, the teams and their fans.

There is one thing that will change however.

As of last Sunday I notified the NZIHL and the New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation that after some careful consideration I would be stepping back from my volunteer role as their Media Director.

Truth be told I became burnt out last season and I had to let some things fall by the wayside in an effort to preserve my mental health. There just wasn’t enough hours in the week to do everything I wanted to do for the NZIHL and Puck Yeah, which is my own doing really – so I prioritised the league’s needs to make sure games were being promoted and seen live or online through YouTube.

Now that those media operations are in a good place, I feel like I can step aside and focus on what’s important to me – I’ve put a lot of my own time and money into the Puck Yeah brand over the past two years and we’re starting to really see that pay off, so from 2019 onwards that will be my priority.

This means that there is one or two volunteer positions now available to help the NZIHL with their social media needs for the 2019 season, running from mid-May to mid-August.

If this is something that interests you then don’t hesitate to get in touch with myself to find out more via our contact form – it’s a great way to gain valuable experience to help get your foot in the door elsewhere. And I’ll still be onhand to answer any technical questions as best as I can from Australia.

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Joe asking Justin Daigle the hard questions under the bleachers

So, what about Puck Yeah for 2019?

While evaluating where we currently stand as a news and social media service, Joe and I took into consideration any constructive feedback we received last year, starting with…

THE PODCAST

Looking back on 2018, the one thing that I wish we hadn’t done was let the podcast disappear for an extended break, twice. With so many stories to share and players we want to interview, Joe and I are determined to not let that happen in 2019.

This week we started off the new season with a bang recording a fresh Rick Parry interview after the shock news dropped that the veteran goalie would be joining the Botany Swarm after spending the past five years with the West Auckland Admirals.

There’s plenty more to come with a new episode out next week featuring an interview with New Zealand Inline Ferns captain Tara Fox and team manager Courtney Fox, whom recently tied the knot.

We’re also looking at ways to make podcasts a more visual experience where possible.

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The brand new Rodecaster Pro makes podcasting between Australia & New Zealand so much easier for us!

DOCUMENTARIES

Puck Yeah will be releasing at least two documentaries this year – the first one being a feature on how ice hockey is growing in Wellington following on from the disappointment of last year’s cancelled Ice Hockey Classic at Westpac Stadium, and the unique characters making it happen. Expect a trailer for that to come out in the next few weeks.

The second documentary is an ambitious project that will come from myself filming the New Zealand Ice Blacks through their intense 10-day training camp in Vail, Colorado along with the 2019 IIHF Worlds in Mexico City, where they hope to win gold and gain promotion to the next tier of international competition.

What I am trying to achieve will see Ice Blacks fans enjoy the most comprehensive coverage of the national team ever seen. But such an effort doesn’t come for free.

Needing help to cover the costs of flights, travel insurance for camera gear, plus the three weeks working freelance as a video journalist and media manager for the team, I have started up a Givealittle page – to find out more please take the time to check it out and consider making a donation. There are also corporate sponsorship opportunities available.

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Filming the Ice Blacks for The Crowd Goes Wild in 2018.

THE WEBSITE

One thing I really wanted to do last year but didn’t have the time for was implement a new section for this website that would be dedicated to tracking NZIHL stats.

My aim is that it can be a valuable resource for the community, namely the volunteer livestream commentators, with the required info available with a simple click – so I’m open to hearing suggestions of what you would like to see from this.

The NZIHL use the IIHF’s Hydra system which displays information using PDF files. It’s basic, it works, but having to download those files every time you want an update (depending on your browser of choice) is a pain in the ass.

This will involve a fair amount of data entry – so if there’s anyone who has an interest in stats that wants to help out, hit us up!

It would be amazing if analytics (such as GameScore) could be part of this, but unfortunately the NZIHL does not track the necessary stats for this to happen. Although if they could start counting hits that would be great!

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Photo: Josh Fraser

Along with the podcast and the documentaries, Puck Yeah will continue to be heavily involved with providing news updates and promotions of the NZIHL, the Ice Blacks, the Ice Fernz, and plenty more NZ hockey action through our social media channels.

The game highlights, including segments like goals/saves of the week, will be back of course – making those videos is my favourite part of this whole thing.

It’s awesome to see Kiwi hockey fans bringing that passion online and I love that Puck Yeah can be a part of that. Thanks so much for taking the time to read our articles, listen to the podcast, or watch the videos we produce.

Here’s to an incredible year of New Zealand ice hockey!

Much love,
Logan Swinkels
PUCK YEAH

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Main photo: James Allan

PUCK YEAH 48: Rick Parry enters The Hive

Puck Yeah Podcast is back in full force for 2019! And we’re starting off with some big news out of the NZIHL.

After spending the past five seasons with the West Auckland Admirals, culminating in lifting the Birgel Cup for the first time last year, goalie Rick Parry is moving across town to join the Botany Swarm.

It’s a busy time for the veteran netminder of 158 NZIHL games and 49 tests for the New Zealand Ice Blacks, recently he launched the Rick Parry Goalie Academy to help train the next generation of talent coming through.

Parry speaks with Puck Yeah’s Logan Swinkels to give an insight into why he’s making the big move for the 2019 season.

Please help support Puck Yeah with its extensive coverage of the 2019 New Zealand Ice Blacks by checking out our Givealittle page and donating today.

Main photo: Mike Froger

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Photo: James Allan

 

Wellington Ice Hockey continues to grow with formation of association

With the incorporation of Wellington Ice Hockey Association, October 9 has become a date worth etching into the history books of New Zealand ice hockey.

That date has come after many long days and nights of hard work by those involved, driven solely by their passion for the game and their want to see it succeed.

Starting in 2016 with a square patch of ice in Lower Hutt, they have now transformed the ‘Frosty Spot’ into a fully functional rink with zamboni included. With these recent developments it is now more realistic than ever to envision competitive ice hockey as a reality for the capital, rather than a pipe dream.

The hunger for having ice hockey in Wellington is there – we regularly field questions from fans about when the NZIHL could expand to include a sixth team.

August’s announcement that the trust behind the ‘Wellington Ice Arena’ movement would be calling it a day came as a shock to those who were hopeful of a fully-fledged international arena, but that despair was quickly replaced with quiet optimism when word got out that a smaller grassroots level movement was already happening.

I caught up with Luke Turner, the president of the newly founded WIHA, to find out more about this new venture in preparation for Puck Yeah’s upcoming documentary on hockey in the capital.

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Gone are the days of grooming ice with a modified lawnmower in Wellington.

With the formation of the Wellington Ice Hockey Association, what’s in the pipeline for the region? Do you have any significant tournaments or events coming up?
Well we just finished up the Puck Off tournament which was our first tournament on the new rink. It went really well with 40 people turning up, and at least 20 spectators – with that under our belt we are aiming to start a Spring beer league in November.

It will be run in a draft format as to make teams even with either 4 or 6 teams depending on how many people sign up. We also have a little bit of Seal on Seal action on Saturday the 17th of November with the ‘Clash of the Seals.’

Since the creation of the new rink in Seaview, have you seen an increase in attendance for public skates or scrimmages?
From what I hear the public sessions have grown around 25%, which is not bad given that there has been no promotion around the rink upgrade. Generally we have been getting over 30 people for scrimmages, which I’m impressed with but it’s time to take it to the next level. People are craving something more competitive where they are playing for something, where there is something on the line.

What started the spark for you wanting to establish the WIHA?
Well with the BHL Chohoho Holiday Classic last year, I saw it as an opportunity where we could take what we had – scrimmages with a lightweight puck – and grow as a team. Since then I think we’ve now made a name for ourselves as the Wellington Seals.

There has been talk about starting a club, as long as I have been playing for the last year, but I think it needs to be much bigger than just a club, it’s about establishing a relationship with the New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation (NZIHF) and setting a very clear direction for the club. We need to get kids involved, and we need to support and develop them. We have the unusual situation where some players have already played for New Zealand in their age grade but we didn’t even have an affiliated region.

It’s also about consolidating ideas. Given that we have had no formal structure, everyone goes off and does their thing and sometimes there is conflicting ideas. So it’s about creating a structured committee where people can approach them to get stuff done.

What has the initial response been like when people discover that yes there is ice hockey in Wellington now?
The word is slowly getting out now. The conversations that go “You play ice hockey? Where do you play that?” still continue daily.

I think we now have the attention of the New Zealand Ice Hockey community that the sport exists here and we have tapped into that local expat market. Now it’s just getting the word out across the region to people who don’t really have an exisiting connection with the ice hockey scene. However, the new rink has really piqued the interest of some players who weren’t so keen to play on the little rink.

There’s a lot of hours and hard work that go into making any of this possible, who are some key contributors that have helped you along the way?
Well first thing’s first, Puck Yeah has been a huge supporter of us. Without your podcast I wouldn’t have found out about Cam Green’s BHL Holiday Classic last year. Attending that tournament ignited a huge passion amongst the team and really gave us a lot of exposure. Walter and Drew in Dunedin have really looked after us with the Masters and Erewhon Cup, plus Sandra from the McKenzie Bull Tahrs has been a huge supporter of what we are doing.

Obviously we couldn’t forget Rob Blitz who runs the rink, and Zark Zeung who helped set up those scrimmages – without video posts on some inline pages I wouldn’t have thought “Hey, I think I can do that.” So without them we wouldn’t have had this opportunity. And finally I have to mention the Gooch, Kerry Goulet. Without him we wouldn’t have this awesome rink with proper boards and glass – we really can’t thank him enough.

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The Wellington area is full of ex-pats keen to get on the ice!

Along with several members of the Seals hockey team, you volunteered your time towards the Ice Hockey Classic at Westpac Stadium that was unfortunately cancelled…what did you learn from that experience? What were some of the take aways for you?
That was a really devastating time for everyone involved. Some of our crew took time off from their jobs and put in more than 40 hours to get the rink up. So to see it blow over in a very spectacular way was soul-destroying. Despite this, I felt we all grew way closer with each other in this time. I knew I could count on every one of those guys with my life. Our crew worked through the nights – even when the rink had collapsed they worked through. I feel so lucky that I can call them my friends. They did all this for the love of ice hockey and making it a success in the region.

If a kid out there in the Wellington region wants to learn how to skate or learn how to play hockey, what options do you hope to make available that can boost the growth of ice sports in New Zealand?
Yeah, this is the key area that we need to focus our attention on. We do ‘beer league’ style scrimmages well, but we need the beginners and youth coming through. Once November rolls around we will be able to put more of a focus on youth. However, we really need equipment to help make it safe for them. If any sponsors want to be part of that or if anyone has gear they want to donate get in touch please!

Now that the WIHA is here, hockey fans are going to start wondering when they will see a Wellington team in the NZIHL…do you see that happening in the foreseeable future?
That’s my dream. With the other plans for an Ice Arena I figured it was a 5-10 year plan. That was based on building the rink, establishing a solid youth hockey programme and fan base. Now, after talking to NZIHF president Andy Mills, I’m thinking it’s going to be more like a 2-5 year plan.

We have some amazing talent out here, both with respect to adults and youth. In part this is due to the Inline Hockey scene as well as imports. But in saying this, we will need a bigger rink and a more purpose fit facility. Currently we can only really do 4-on-4 hockey with the constraints of the building.

What words of advice or wisdom have you received from the New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation during the start of this new venture?
It might be just be my impression but it seemed like there was apprehension at first. What we are doing wasn’t part of the game plan – I guess no one expected it. But I think that sums up Wellington Ice Hockey in general.

The Seals started on a rink that was 25 metres by 15 metres, but we started a team anyway. I think it’s just part of a DIY ethic that exists here. While others were talking about starting hockey in Wellington, we had already started it and were growing it.

Once they realised we were here to stay there has been a lot more support.

Who created the logo for the WIHA?
That was created by Dana Williams, the partner of our Vice President Paul Edlin. I stole a bunch of logos using Google image search to put into pictures with some awful scribbles of the themes I was hoping to convey.

Being a mapmaker I wanted a map of the region on there as an option, but in the end the Beehive is probably the most iconic thing about Wellington (other than the bucket fountain) so it’s the most fitting.

I’m really happy with the way the logo turned out. We have a whole heap of talented designers in the community and we hope to utilise their expertise when it comes to logo designs, jersey designs and event posters.

Anything further information or thoughts you would like to add at this stage?
Look out for us. Hockey is growing here. Get in touch if you want to bring your team to Wellington!

To contact the WIHA, email Luke Turner at wellingtonicehockey@gmail.com

Check out the Frosty Spot on Facebook or see the new rink for yourself at 85 Port Road, Seaview (Lower Hutt) and like the WIHA Facebook page for updates.

PUCK YEAH 47: Travis Crickard, The Exit Interview

Before the NZIHL season started we met Kelowna Rockets assistant coach Travis Crickard, who was in New Zealand to learn from the All Blacks while also helping the Botany Swarm in their quest for a fifth title.

Fast forward to now and Travis is back in Canada for the 2018-19 season, hoping to help guide the Rockets to a WHL Championship and the Memorial Cup.

But before departing from NZ, Travis caught up with Puck Yeah’s Logan Swinkels for an in-depth chat about his time in the NZIHL, where he sees improvements being made, and the current state of the Swarm franchise.

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Travis Crickard in the studio with Puck Yeah podcast hosts Logan Swinkels and Joe Durie.