New Zealand to host ice hockey showdown

MARK STEVENS
Last updated 13:26 04/03/2011
Ice Hockey

USA and Canada face off at last year's Winter Olympics.

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Two of the world's biggest ice hockey nations - USA and Canada - will face off in New Zealand for a three-game exhibition series later this year.

Dubbed 'the Cold War' by promoters, the series will be led by NHL hockey stars Kyle Quincey, of the Colorado Avalanche, and Rob Schremp, of the New York Islanders. Quincey captains the Canadian team and Schremp skippers USA.

A fully portable NHL-spec hockey arena will travel with the teams for their games in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin in late July and early August. The arena is being brought over from Europe for the exhibition series.

The North American hockey players will also take in some of the South Island sites while here, travelling by road between the Christchurch and Dunedin games, via Queenstown.

Adult tickets will range between $80 and $203 in Auckland, $79 and $199 in Christchurch and will be $65 in Dunedin.

Ice Hockey is a massive sport for the Americans and Canadians, sparking a strong rivalry between the two nations, which, most recently, came to head in the gold medal match at last year's Winter Olympics. Canada won 3-2 in knuckle-biting overtime play; it was only the second time in Olympic history that the final had gone into extra time.

Although not such a high-profile sport in New Zealand, the Kiwis have still been members of the International Ice Hockey Federation since 1977. The New Zealand men's team - represented in Division 2 - is ranked 40th out of 49 in world rankings and the women's team comes in at 30th out of 34.

Face off:

Auckland, Vector Arena, July 23

Christchurch, CBS Arena, July 30

Dunedin, Ice Stadium, August 3

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