The SkyCity Stampede has a cavalry of loyal, loud fans – but so does goal-tender Aston Brookes. The long-time Stampede staple, known for his charismatic and laid-back personality, has his work cut out for him this weekend.
Aside from being one of the most successful goalies in the NZIHL – as evidenced by being crowned Best Goalie between 2012-2016 from either IIHF or NZIHL, Aston goes into the 2022 Birgel Cup semi-finals with a competitive advantage. He has a lot of experience with big-ticket, ‘everything on the line’ games. Playing 12 seasons in the NZIHL, including six playoff series, two seasons in the AIHL and representing New Zealand in many World Champions – it’s experience he doesn’t take for granted.
“Going into this weekend, the team is still feeling confident. We aren’t finished yet, we have been chatting a lot about what we need to bring to make it to the finals, and everyone is taking responsibility for what they need to do to be successful this weekend. Coach Cam is keeping a positive atmosphere for us this week, and the boys have been putting a bit extra to be as sharp as possible.”
This season hasn’t been as smooth sailing for the Stampede – with many familiar and notable faces missing from the team in 2022. “It’s been tough at times with people we have relied on for years not been in the lineup,” says Aston, “but it’s given some of the local lads a chance to fit into those spots. We’ve been fortunate to have a few lads playing in the local league step up big time and fit the team’s culture.”
So – as the weekend fast approaches, Aston wanted to take the opportunity to thank sponsors, supporters and fans for their encouragement.
“I’d like to make a huge shoutout to my long-time personal sponsors Bob and Mary, they’re epic people, sponsors and supporters. I’m honoured to be supported by them.
I’d also like to shout out to all Skycity Stampede’s fantastic sponsors, we’re so fortunate to have the backing we do, we couldn’t do it without their continued support.
Thank you to all our team staff, we’re so lucky to have such a skilled, knowledgeable team running the show. Because of them, we have the platform to play our best hockey.”
2022 Birgel Cup Semi-finals
Skycity Stampede vs. Canterbury Red Devils
Queenstown Ice Arena
23 & 24 September
Both games start at 7:00pm
Tickets are available from: https://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2022/nzihl-semi-final-skycity-stampede-vs-canterbury-red-devils/queenstown
Images supplied by James Allan Photography