This year the Burnside Ice Hockey team welcomed two new players, alongside three other players from Lincoln HS and Rangi Ruru.
This made up a total of 15 players in the team, playing in the Mixed grade on Saturdays, with ages ranging from Years 9 to 13 with all with different skill levels.
It’s always great having players with different levels of experience in the team, it gives the more experienced players a chance to teach what they know to the newer players and within a couple weeks you notice their improvement. They're skating faster, shooting at the net and getting amongst the action on the ice. Because of this the team bonded really quick, which was obvious both on and off the ice.
This year we had Alyssa Murphy as captain and Sophie Jefferies and Kyle Swift as assistant captains. These players had been part of the team for several years now so it was great to see them step up and lead the team as a whole.
Leading up to the season there was a lot of discussion as to whether or not there was going to be an Ice Hockey season. With New Zealand moving from Level 4 down to 3, it was always uncertain, but fortunately at the time the country was in Level 2, this meant the season was a go. The season started in Term 3 and went for six weeks, with games on Saturdays and training on Wednesdays. All teams came together to train at the rink, this was always a good chance to socialise and meet other players from the three other schools, Cashmere, Shirley/Avonside and St Andrews.
Ice Hockey was one of the few fortunate sports to have a tournament running this year, which was great as this has always been the highlight of the season for the team. The South Island Secondary Schools' tournament was held in Dunedin and these games were a lot more competitive and intense than our local Saturday competition, but the team kept up.
This year we had ex-student Nathan van Slooten coaching us. Up until this year Nathan had been playing for Burnside so it was good he could come back as our coach, as he was a major part of the team who brought lots of experience and knowledge with him.
The team played very well during the season and at tournament. As much as this year had already been a struggle with Covid-19, the team put 100% in every week, dramatically improving their skills and enjoying themselves.
Congratulations to Alyssa Murphy, Sophie Jefferies and Abbe Anderson who played for the NZ U18 Womens' Ice Hockey Team at the Womens' U18 World Championships in Mexico at the start of this year (photos at the bottom).