Ice Hockey: Pucking good time on the ice

By Michael Guerin

Shane Cameron had a ringside seat.
Photo / Michael Craig
Shane Cameron had a ringside seat. Photo / Michael Craig

After breaking his hand in his boxing triumph on Friday, Shane Cameron should have had it on ice, but he opted instead for the ice hockey.

Cameron and 10,000 other Kiwis got an abundance of biffo between two teams from Canada and the USA as they battled it out on a $4.2 million temporary ice rink at Auckland's Vector Arena.

There was plenty of skill on display, as former National Hockey League players joined other professionals, but the crowd wasn't looking for skill. They came alive at the slightest hint of the fighting the sport is famous for.

And they got it. The opposing captains dropped sticks and gloves in the first five minutes to engage in a fully fledged fist fight. Later, a brutal body check by Aaron Miller on an Canadian attacker sent both players flying into the air.

In the second period, the rink resembled a WWF ring as, after another collision, two players smashed into the American goal, slamming it off its footing.

"I'm loving it," Cameron said. "There are some big hits out there - you can see the contests are pretty serious. It's full on."

But local fan Shaun King, who has represented New Zealand in roller hockey, was not entirely impressed with the game, commenting that it looked like the players were stuck in "second gear" during the first 20-minute period.

Off the ice, a "kisscam" zoomed in on various spectators and encouraged them to lock lips for the big screen.

And usually reserved New Zealanders got into the spirit. The highlight of the breaks in play was a marriage proposal when a man popped the question as the rest of the crowd watched live and bigger than life size.

To his immense relief, his surprised companion eventually nodded her head as applause rang around the arena.

The rink - which contains 200,000 litres of ice and was imported from Holland - is to be dismantled today and transported down the country for matches in Christchurch and Dunedin this week.

- Herald on Sunday

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