New Zealand withdraws
by Martin Merk|02 FEB 2022
New Zealand’s “Ice Blacks” last played in the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group B in Mexico.
New Zealand’s “Ice Blacks” will also not play internationally this season. The New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation has withdrawn the men’s senior and men’s U18 national teams for the events in April after having previously withdrawn teams from other categories for earlier events.

As with the previous withdrawals the reason was related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the travel and quarantine requirements in the country and the limited number of players able to join the team under the current circumstances following consultation with players, staff, and management.

The New Zealand men’s national team was scheduled to play in the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group B in Reykjavik, Iceland, which will now be held with five teams. The remaining teams are Belgium, Iceland, Georgia, Mexico and Bulgaria.

The men’s U18 team was seeded in the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division III Group B in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, which is now reduced to four teams – beside the hosts also Hong Kong (China), South Africa and Luxembourg.

“This was a sad but necessary decision as it means both teams have now missed three World Championship events in a row due to the global pandemic. However, the health and safety of all players and staff is the number-one consideration for the NZIHF, and that at this time it would not be a responsible decision to send the teams overseas,” said NZIHF President Andy Mills.

Due to the Covid-19 in situation in the country, the NZIHF’s Men’s Triple Star programme in February also had to be postponed.