During late March, the Botany Swarm based Ice Blacks departed New Zealand bound for their IIHF Division II B World Championship tournament in Granada, Spain. The players named to the Ice Blacks team were Andrew Hay, Alexandr Polozov, Jordan Challis, Kahu Joyce and Oliver Hay. The Ice Blacks travelled first to Tukums, Latvia for an intensive two-week training camp prior to starting their quest for a medal.
The Ice Blacks played HK Marupe on 5 April (a 1-4 loss) and 6 April (a 7-6 win), HC Pardaugava from Riga on 10 April (a 6-5 win in a shootout) followed by the Latvian Div 1 winners, HC Venta from Ventspils (a 4-7 loss).
The squad then travelled to Spain and began their quest for a medal on Saturday 14 April with a convincing win against Mexico – 5-1. Jordan Challis awarded Best Player with his on ice magic of one goal and three assists. Congrats, Jordan.
Sunday 15 April, the squad faced off against Israel and came away with another win – this time 5-2. Kahu got his first goal of the tournament and our Botany Swarm boys did well to get a total of three points on the board. A great effort!
A rest day followed on Monday 16 April and then up against Luxembourg on Tuesday 17 with another convincing win by the Ice Blacks – 7-1. The Botany Swarm contingent did itself proud yet again with goals by Alex and Jordan and assists by Alex (x2), Andy and Oliver.
The Ice Blacks fourth game of the IIHF Division II Group B Championship was played Friday 20 April with a massive win against DPR Korea – 12-4. Again our Botany Swarm players put more points on the board – Jordan Challis and Alex Polozov each getting a goal a piece, and Kahu Joyce getting an assist, Jordan and Alex each getting two assists.
The crunch game for the gold medal was played on Saturday 21 April against host team, Spain. This match up against the home favorites came with heartbreak as the Ice Blacks went down to the hosts 6-4 and ended up taking the silver medal for the tournament.
The final tournament statistics can be found here.