The New Zealand Ice Hockey League has released their schedule ahead of the upcoming 2013 season. Andrew Hewitt takes a look at the road to the Birgel Cup.
On Friday afternoon, the NZIHL announced via a Media Release their schedule for the upcoming 2013 season which includes the race for the Birgel Cup, the Trans-Tasman Champions League and the popular Skate of Origin event.
Accommodating for the Women’s Div II Group A IIHF Tournament (which will feature New Zealand, Australia, Poland, Italy, Slovenia and Hungary) held in Auckland in April, the NZIHL will kick off on May 25th with the 2012 Champion Canterbury Red Devils hosting the Dunedin Thunder in the opening game in Christchurch.
The NZIHL fixture will break mid season for the Trans-Tasman Champions League that will be held in Queenstown on July 5th and 6th. After a successful running of the event in Melbourne earlier this year, the NZIHL and AIHL’s two best teams from the previous season will face off to become the best team over these two great countries.
Representing the NZIHL will be the Red Devils and hosts the Southern Stampede while the AIHL will be sending the Melbourne Ice and Newcastle North Stars across the ditch with the Ice being the current title holders.
A unique feature of the NZIHL season that was introduced to the competition this year is the Toa Kauhanga Riri Tio Trophy. With the Stampede the current holders, it will first be fought over on June 8 when the West Auckland Admirals come to Queesntown.
At seasons end, the two finalists will compete for the Birgel Cup with the higher ranked team to host the August 24 event.
After the Birgel Cup has been lifted for 2013 the action doesn’t stop and players will drop club ties and pick up island ones with a representative game showcasing the best players in New Zealand from the North and South Islands. The winning team will walk away with the Glass Shield, with the South Island entering 2013 as the reigning champs.
Keen to take a look at the schedule yourself? Just click here to get the pdf.
By Andrew Hewitt
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