Inline hockey may not be a sport most Kiwis would associate with, but there is plenty about the game that has Cameron Huntingdon coming back for more time and again.
"It's a fast contact sport. It's real similar to ice hockey but you got a lot of skill involved, you're using your head, but at the same time you get use your body a bit.
"It's quite an intense sport when you're playing really good teams."
The 18-year-old has already donned the silver fern as a member of the New Zealand under-16 inline hockey side in 2011, which he said was a memorable experience.
"There is a lot of honour in some ways representing your country. It was quite fun to go over to Australia and play against them."
Huntingdon was introduced to the sport as a child and fondly remembers watching his father play roller hockey before he was approached to try out for the Hamilton Devils club.
Initially, he thought he would give it a go, only to fall in love with the sport and has represented the club since.
"Hockey just exploded for me. I was just into it - pretty much just living down at the rink.”
The teen is not the only one of his family to have represented New Zealand in the sport.
Cameron's father, John, was a member of the New Zealand veterans team. He was able travel alongside his son to the Oceania championships.
“He actually got into the veterans team for New Zealand the same time as me last year.
"We both went over to the Gold Coast which was really cool. At least I had a family member there.”
Earlier this year, the year 13 student, who attends Hamilton's Fraser High School, was privileged along with other players to learn skills and tips from triple Olympic ice hockey gold medallist Cherie Piper, of Canada.
Huntingdon found the experience interesting and he realised the vast gap in skills between the two countries.
"It was quite interesting learning stuff from her [Piper] because the skill level difference between Canadians and New Zealanders is at a different level.
"They're born and bred to play in inline and on ice. It was a privilege to actually meet [one of] them."
He hopes to represent his club side at the National Club Inline Hockey Championships hosted in Hamilton in late September with his focus on trialling and being selected for the Central region team.
As if playing the game is not enough, Huntingdon also assists in coaching the Fraser White side, passing on his knowledge and passion for the sport.
“We do trainings for them Mondays and Thursdays which I help coach.
“I help them increase their skill levels so they're not playing the sport and leaving, [instead] they're actually getting involved with it.”
However, the goal for Huntingdon is to represent the national side again at the Inline Hockey World Championships next year.
“I'm hoping to get into one of the New Zealand teams that go over and play Worlds . . . it would be an even bigger privilege than the Oceanias,” he said.
- Waikato Times
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