It has been a long seven weeks for Auckland Mako fans but the wait is over – the team returns to the ice this weekend. And it’s going to be a big one, as the team takes on the Skycity Stampede on their home ice at Queenstown Ice Arena.
While the Skycity Stampede has had a record season without loss, the Mako hasn’t secured a win. However, the scorecard doesn’t paint an accurate picture of what we have witnessed in the Mako games to date.
For most of these young athletes, it’s the first time they have come up against some of the greatest names in New Zealand ice hockey, but that hasn’t made them back down from the challenge. The Auckland Mako is coached by the dynamic duo of Andreas Kaisser, who previously coached the Botany Swarm and New Zealand Ice Blacks and A.J. Spiller who previously coached the U18 Men’s National Team.
The team consists of athletes aged under 23 years-old from around the country and they are joined by NZIHL veterans who act as mentors. These mentors are added into the mix to increase the skill and experience of the team.
Let’s dive into the Auckland Mako roster for this weekend:
|Ian Audas||Isaak Reid||Jake Panhurst|
|Jackson Fontaine||Shaun Brown||Tim Carey|
|Pad Mackenzie||Felipe Aguirre|
|Sam Audas||Flynn Hayward Jones|
|Ivan Dalmatau||Maz Gregory|
|Max Vesper||A.J Spiller|
In a recent interview with Coppuccino Podcast, A.J. Spiller – Auckland Mako Co-Coach & Mentor Player, explained the reason behind the team’s creation, Spiller went on to say “(The NZIHF) wanted to create an environent for these younger players to come and get an exposure to the NZIHL earlier than what they would normally and get a chance to play.”
Right from the start, the players knew that the games they played didn’t count for points nor would alter the standings of the five major teams, and the team wouldn’t be eligible to contest the Birgel Cup – but having the chance to play in the NZIHL was worth that sacrifice.
“They jumped on board; they have been awesome. They have come to play hard, and they enjoyed it.”
Puck drops this Friday and Saturday at the Queenstown Ice Arena, games start at 7pm – and will be livestreamed. Tickets on sale now from skycitystampede.com
Auckland Mako Result Table
|Botany Swarm||West Auckland Admirals||Phoenix Thunder||Skycity Stampede||Canterbury Red Devils|
|6:2 BSW||3:1 WAA||9:1 DNT||13 August||4 September|
|6:5 BSW||5:1 WAA||5:2 DNT||14 August||5 September|