Wellington mother-daughter duo representing NZ at floorball tournament

01022017 News Photo MONIQUE FORD / FAIRFAX NZ
The Women's World Floorball Championships Qualifying Tournament is in ...
MONIQUE FORD / Fairfax NZ

01022017 News Photo MONIQUE FORD / FAIRFAX NZ The Women's World Floorball Championships Qualifying Tournament is in Wellington until Feb 5, with eight teams competing for four spots at the World Championships in Slovakia. The NZ Team is dominated by Wellington-based players including a mother-daughter combo of Jane and Rachel Bertschinger (15) left

Floorball is a family affair for the Bertschingers.

Mother and daughter duo Jane and Rachel Bertschinger are two of the 18 women representing New Zealand in the Women's World Floorball Championships qualifying tournament at the ASB Sports Centre this week.

Athletes from eight countries - China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand - have descended on Wellington for the first ever floorball tournament held in this country.

New Zealand's floorball team is dominated by Wellington-based players, including mother-daughter combo Jane ...
MONIQUE FORD/FAIRFAX NZ

New Zealand's floorball team is dominated by Wellington-based players, including mother-daughter combo Jane Bertschinger, right, and her daughter Rachel Bertschinger.

Floorball is a type of indoor hockey, popular in Europe.

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Jane Bertschinger has a hockey background and "dabbled" in the sport while overseas before picking it up here.

The Women's World Floorball Championships qualifying tournament is in Wellington until February 5.
MONIQUE FORD/FAIRFAX NZ

The Women's World Floorball Championships qualifying tournament is in Wellington until February 5.

She stuck at it because her kids also played and it was a good way to spend time together.

Her team's first game of the tournament - a 13-0 win over China on Tuesday - was a great way to kick off their tournament, but it was not the win that was the highlight for the family, she says.

"It was Rachel's debut for the country which was extremely special."

Fifteen-year-old goalkeeper Rachel Bertschinger, left, is the youngest player in the New Zealand team.
MONIQUE FORD/FAIRFAX NZ

Fifteen-year-old goalkeeper Rachel Bertschinger, left, is the youngest player in the New Zealand team.

Rachel, 15, is the goalkeeper and the youngest in the team. She was nervous in the lead up to the game but is happy with how she performed.

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"It's been really great to get experience. Playing with older players, it's given me lots of in-depth experience."

New Zealand, who narrowly lost to 3-2 to Thailand in their second game on Wednesday, are ranked 23rd in the world and 5th in the tournament.

The goal is to secure one of the four spots for the world championships in Slovakia in December.

Floorball New Zealand general secretary Christian Bertschinger, husband of Jane and father of Rachel, says it is a fantastic spectator sport.

It is fast-paced and played over three periods of 20 minutes.

Floorball differs from hockey as teams can use both sides of the stick and there are less rules that interfere with the flow of the game, he says.

Fifteen of the 18 team members are from Wellington, where the sport is very strong in numbers. There are also six players who are under 19, which is a testament to the strong development of the sport.

"For us, it's really important to bring up the young ones, that we push the youth."

About 460 spectators turned out for New Zealand's first game.

Jane Bertschinger says the team could hear the crowd and is hoping even more people turn up during the rest of the tournament.

It is hard to tell how they will go, but they are really keen to improve that ranking, she says.

"We've got some really hard competition, it's certainly not going to be easy."

Quarterfinals, semifinals and finals take place between Friday and Sunday.​ The tournament is open to the public and will be streamed live on YouTube.

New Zealand play Australia at 7pm on Thursday.

 - Stuff

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