Inline hockey isn't a sport you hear of often, nationally or regionally. But with current national ice hockey representative Jessi Scott having told the Advocate she began her days as an inline hockey player in Northland, we thought why not have a look at inline hockey in the region. With Jessi having made the national inline team previously, her dad Wayne gave us a snapshot at the sport within Northland.
What sort of following does inline hockey in Northland have?
Inline hockey has a small following while a lot of kids love to skate we still struggle to get exposure. For the numbers we have participating historically we have been outstanding in the quality of both teams and individuals we have produced. We have won three national championships and several top five placings over the years.
What sorts of opportunities are out there for locals to compete either regionally or nationally?
There is an annual regional tournament held over Labour Weekend where the country is divided into four, we are in the northern region and the best players in their age groups are picked from the various clubs and they play together at this tournament. Traditionally New Zealand representative trial squads are picked from this and these players go on to either to compete at an Oceania Championships or for some to World or Junior World Championships.
How do people get involved?
Unfortunately the Stingrays (Northland Inline Skating Club) based in Kerikeri are now the only club north of Auckland. We are part of the BaySport community based at Waipapa which has the indoor stadium and we basically have a dedicated hockey rink permanently available.
Could you explain how the sport works?
It is the "non-contact" version of ice hockey, we play with normally teams of at least eight players and a goalie of which four and the goalie are on floor at any one time. We play for 40 minutes normally in four quarters and there are strict rules for behaviour and contact.