Zach Bovey is making a name for himself in a sport that doesn't get a lot of attention.
The Pukerua Bay 13-year-old recently returned from an inline hockey series in Hamilton, where New Zealand age group teams took on their Australian counterparts.
Unfortunately, Zach and his under-12 team-mates (he was 12 at the start of this year) lost 5-2 and 3-1 in two ultra-competitive matches.
"We were definitely keen to knock them over, but they were quite a strong side. I found them really hard to get past."
The defenceman enjoyed his first taste of international competition, especially the proud moment when it came to pull on the New Zealand colours.
He said he was excited, but had sympathy for the players who didn't make the cut to play for their country.
Zach said he fell into inline hockey through a family member about seven years ago, and said he was now addicted.
He travels to Upper Hutt once every week to train with the Rimutaka Renegades club, because there is no inline hockey club in Porirua.
"I just love the speed of the game and you have to think smart when you're out there as well. Not too many know about inline, but there's a good local league and it's getting more popular."
WHAT IS INLINE HOCKEY?
Same concept as ice hockey, but with roller blades instead of ice skates.
Thought to have been established about 1940; first competitive season began in the United States in 1961.
Played on variety of surfaces, including wood and concrete.
Also known as roller hockey. Five per side, including a goalie.
Strongest countries are United States, Canada and Czech Republic. New Zealand Inline Hockey Association was established in 1995.
There are 40 inline hockey clubs in New Zealand, including one in Tawa.
New Zealand first qualified for the world championships at the Asia/Pacific qualification tournament in 1999.
- Kapi-Mana News