Import Players 2019

The Botany Swarm will be signing four imports for 2019.

We are looking for talented hockey players who have played third level or better in North America or Europe, who want to be based in New Zealand’s biggest city and experience what the country has to offer.

Players, coaches and administrators of the Botany Swarm and other New Zealand Ice Hockey League (NZIHL) teams are not paid for their participation.

We will pay for:

  • International Transfer Card
  • Playing fees
  • Trips to play in Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.


We will help you to:

  • Apply for a working holiday visa - this is quick & simple.
  • Find employment
  • Find a suitable car - public transport is not a reliable option in Auckland
  • Connect your phone
  • Set up a bank account
  • Experience Auckland city and get to know its people
  • See the country.


You will need to:

  • Be fluent in English
  • Pay for your flights to & from Auckland
  • Arrive in Auckland by end of April and stay at least until early September.
  • Pay Registration fees
  • Pay your living expenses
  • Help promote the Botany Swarm
  • Help coach junior hockey.

The Botany Swarm team comprises of the best hockey talent in East and South Auckland and the recruitment of well-credentialed import players, helps raise the talent base of the team. Balancing this recruitment is a commitment to fostering and developing young local players.

Playing for the Botany Swarm

Botany Swarm have won the NZIHL Championship in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011, placed third in 2013, fourth in 2014 and third in 2015.

The team comprises local players and import players from North America and Europe and has built up a strong core of sponsors, members and supporters.

We are focused on creating a talented local player base complimented with strong imports with the goal of securing a fifth Championship.

If you are a talented team oriented player, then we look forward to hearing from you.



To be the best club in the New Zealand Hockey League (NZIHL)



  • To provide a positive experience for all ice hockey players
  • To assist and enhance the development of ice hockey in the Auckland region
  • To assist with the development of ice hockey players to achieve success when representing New Zealand

  • To contribute constructively to the community.

What to expect from Botany Swarm

We can promise you, that if you are successful in making the team, you will be playing with a great bunch of players at the highest level New Zealand has on offer. We play two pre-season exhibition games, 16 regular season games - eight home and eight away, and then the finals. You will fly for the two-game series in Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown during the regular season.

So, you can look forward to 18 weeks of good fun, hard work, great hockey and building incredibly strong friendships.


In 2019, the Botany Swarm will be signing four imports:

All overseas players playing in the NZIHL must have an International Transfer Card. The Botany Swarm will pay the ITC transfer fee for all signed imports.

Paradice Botany – Home of the Botany Swarm

Paradice arena in Botany Downs, Auckland, New Zealand - www.paradice.co.nz

The rink is an Olympic sized ice pad 60m x 30m and IIHF certified. Paradice arena is a state-of-the-art complex that provides players with the best facilities both on and off ice.

Auckland has two ice rinks. Paradice Botany is on the eastern side and approximately 20 minutes from the centre of town.


Playing in the NZIHL

If you intend to play for Botany Swarm, there are a few things you need to know.

The NZIHL is an amateur league, observing NCAA guidelines. No one at Botany Swarm, on or off the ice, gets paid.

Every member of the squad, will have to compete for a roster spot based on merit. We can only dress three imports per game.

In terms of standard, the level of play in the NZIHL has improved a substantially since inception in 2005. In the past, teams had imports that have played single A professional hockey, but will as the standard continues to lift will be looking for players from a higher levels.

North America      AA professional

Germany               Oberliga

France                   Ligue Magnus

Sweden                 Div 1

Finland                  Suomi Sarja

Czech Republic     2 Liga

You can see examples of Botany Swarm and NZIHL games on our Livestream site - https://livestream.com/nzihl

Auckland has approximately 550 members playing in U10, U13, U16, U19 and three Senior Leagues.  

Auckland city and surrounds

New Zealand is the best holiday spot in the world, according to Britain's Daily Telegraph. Auckland has been ranked the third most liveable city in the world by the Mercer Quality of Living Survey. Auckland boasts a thriving outdoor culture, a vibrant nightlife, a high but affordable standard of living, and a bumper economy.

The sporting capital of New Zealand, Auckland is relaxed, friendly and community focused. Many players take off on day and overnight trips around the North Island from this central base.

Over the last few years Canadian, American and European players have found Aucklanders to be very friendly and the city a safe place to live, work and play. If you want to visit New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific Islands, then Auckland is the best place to be based.

To find out more about Auckland and New Zealand visit www.aucklandtourism.co.nz or www.tourismnewzealand.com.

What you need to prepare

Step One

If you interested in applying for an import player position on the Botany Swarm Roster please email your application to the Botany Swarm General Manager, Shawn Cormier - shawn@smarthomedesign.co.nz

You should also include:

  • A personal/professional resume including references
  • An ice hockey resume including references with contacts
  • State the reason why you would like to play for Botany Swarm
  • State the reason for coming to New Zealand. 

Step Two

Botany Swarm will advise successful applicants as soon as practical.


Step Three

Send us a copy of your confirmed return flights. Our offer of a position on the team roster will be withdrawn if return flights are not confirmed and paid for.


Step Four

Once you know you are coming to Auckland you will need the following:

A New Zealand visa

We recommend a working holiday visa option. You can also come as a student if you are studying at one of Auckland’s educational institutions.

Most players who play for the Botany Swarm come to New Zealand on the 12-month working holiday visa. Countries that participate in this program are Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America

You should check this information for yourself at www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/options/work

You should understand that Botany Swarm would be unlikely to sign you if you are not able to work during your stay in New Zealand.

Medical Certificate

You should also arrange a medical certificate confirming that you are fit to play hockey at an elite level.

Step Five

Come to Auckland and have a great experience that you will remember for the rest of your life.

If you would like a unique experience visiting and playing hockey in New Zealand for Botany Swarm and would like further information, please contact us by email. We look forward to meeting you in 2019.


A few words from our past imports ...

Jeff Sanders USA

Having played ice hockey my entire life, I was very impressed with the Botany Swarm organization and how they treat their import players both on and off the ice.

Traveling all the way from the United States I was anxious to meet everyone and looked forward to playing in my first NZIHL game. I luckily had Mickey Rhodes, an ex-import who played during the 2013 season brief me on the team and how the experience he had in New Zealand was unmatched.

What impressed me the most was the amount of care and willingness the managers, coaches and players put out there to make sure you were well taken care of. Families like the Guests and the Hays really make the imports feel as if they never left home. It is rare to see clubs go above and beyond to help you with what you need, especially when you are unfamiliar with your surroundings.

I was set up with living in the heart of downtown Auckland right next to the Sky Tower. It was the perfect place to be when you had off days from hockey. Living in Central Auckland opens up a wide variety when it comes to activities and culture and food. There are also a couple workout facilities that are within walking distance to keep in shape.

Andy and Jeff as coaches are knowledgeable and know the game. They will motivate you to become the player you need to be. As far as the players, this is a very tight knit group and from day one I was welcomed into the locker room as if I had played with these guys my whole life. I can’t say enough about the time I had and the memories I made with this outstanding hockey club.

If traveling and playing the game you love is what you want to do, then the Botany Swarm will let you experience all that and much more.

Brandon Contratto USA

Hello, my name is Brandon Contratto and I played as a Botany Swarm import player throughout the 2013 season. From the time I arrived in Auckland, New Zealand I could tell my experience with this organization was going to be above and beyond any international hockey experiences I had previously had. The team management is truly a family environment and offers the import players a home away from home on a daily basis. They take you in and treat you like one of their own.

The team took care of finding accommodation for myself and all imports at Auckland City Hotel apartments in the heart of Auckland City. Even once all of us imports had been moved into the accommodation and we had been aided in finding jobs with Paradice Ice Arenas we were still looked after and brought into people's homes for even more of a family environment and strong sense of team unity. The coaching staff of Andreas Kaisser and Jeff Boehme brings fast paced practices and a strong game plan to the forefront of the team. They are experienced at the NZIHL level and have been involved with winning four NZIHL championships along with coaching the Ice Blacks National Team. These coaches and team management are some of the main voices in New Zealand International Ice Hockey as well and have many contacts worldwide along with offering a chance to coach Representative teams and youth teams for imports that are qualified and interested which I enjoyed and took advantage of.

The NZIHL level of ice hockey is great for staying in shape and helping improve your game as well. The level has improved every year and the level of imports has gone up each and every year to include NHL draft picks and AHL players. I have played all over the world including professional hockey in the Czech Republic and the experience with the Botany Swarm was by far the best experience of my career.

I strongly recommend playing for the Botany Swarm and spending your off season in Auckland, New Zealand it is an experience you will never forget.

Niklas Marschall Germany

I played for the Botany Swarm as an import goalie throughout the 2014 season. The imports were based in the Auckland City Hotel, which is in the heart of the city. There are a lot of things to do during your leisure time. All people behind the team took great care of us and were always helpful and warm-hearted and treated us like parts of their own families. I never felt homesick. I enjoyed the good atmosphere in the team.

We had twice a week practice with off ice and on ice sessions. The coaches lead the trainings very professionally - we were all in good shape. We also had time left to discover the beauty of the country. By the way I wanna say thank you to all the people, who supported us. It was an unforgettable experience and I found a lot of new friends. I wish the swarm all the best and hope you make it next year to the finals.

Mickey Rhodes USA

I played for the Swarm 2013 season as an import player. Having played one season as an import in the AIHL, I was honestly a bit weary at first of playing down under one last time. That being said, my NZIHL experience was one hundred percent more enjoyable than my time in the AIHL.

I am a big traveller, so to play the sport I love and visit one of the most beautiful countries in the world was an opportunity I could not pass up. The Botany Swarm organization is surrounded by individuals who will do anything to help its players, especially the imports. Families like the Guests and the Hays go above and beyond to accommodate the swarm imports and players in many different ways e.g. dinners, pregame meals, a car, jobs, and trips. It’s really a family environment more than anything. Not once was I homesick, these families made us feel like we were a part of not only the Swarm family, but their own family. Moreover, the Swarm import players are put up in the wonderful Auckland City Hotel in the heart of Auckland city and receive a great weekly rate for their stay. The employees of the hotel were very friendly and always helpful. As for jobs, the team helped us find positions working for Paradice’s Aotea Square outdoor rink. This was very convenient for all of imports and was five minutes walking distance from our hotel apartment.

Practices were twice a week and ran by head coach Andreas Kaiser and assistant coach Jeff Boehme. Practices for the Botany Swarm were always structured and enjoyable. Coach Kaiser understands what it takes to win multiple NZIHL championships and pushes his players to their fullest potential. It was a pleasure playing under him this season. The team is very close nit and has been playing together since they were kids. The road trips with my Swarm teammates were some of my fondest memories of playing this season. I am going to miss the team atmosphere more than anything. I just wish the season was a bit longer so I could spend a bit more time with these guys. Nevertheless, I can say a majority of these relationships I have made with everyone the past few months will last a lifetime. And although we fell just two games short of the final game, this season was one of the most powerful hockey adventures I have ever experienced.

If you are looking to play competitive hockey abroad and be taken care of by some of the kindest individuals you will ever meet in your lifetime, look no further than the Botany Swarm organization.

Evan Mackintosh USA

Playing for the Swarm is a great hockey experience. Coming down from the US, I did not know what to expect of the hockey or the team. But after the first practice and getting to meet the guys, I could not have found a better team and place to play.

The entire organization is full of the most helpful and friendly people that I have come across while playing. Starting with the General Manager to the team managers, the coaching staff and the players, all will do what they can to make sure the team has what it needs to be ready for the games. Each person puts in extra time behind the scenes making sure that we are comfortable and have the things we need so that everything on and off the ice is easier. If you need anything, they will do what they can to make sure you get it.

As an import, you're very well taken care of while playing for the Swarm. They set you up, living right in downtown Auckland. It's an amazing set up and great location. You're right in the city center, so there is a ton to do when you have free time.

As far as the guys on the team, could not get a much better group. Every guy is friendly and welcoming and makes you part of the team right away. There is a strong locker room bond and it shows during the games. Everyone picks each other up when a teammate is having a bad game and makes sure each player stays focused on the game. It all starts though with the coaching staff. Andy and Jeff are good at making sure all the players are focused on the game and only game. This is reinforced by the captains and vets of the team. All the older players are great group of guys and help make the imports feel part of the team and take you under their wing.