It is with sadness that we are announcing the withdrawal of the New Zealand Senior Women’s (Ice Fernz) national team from the 2022 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship.
The team was scheduled to take part in the IIHF Division II, Group B event to be held in Croatia in March 2022.
The decision was made in consultation with all players, staff, and management whereby it was agreed it would not be possible to put forward a team to compete in this event. The primary reason for reaching this decision was due to the limited number of players able to form a team, as well as the continued effects of COVID-19 globally, especially the concern that extended travel and quarantine requirements may have on player’s employment and education.
Ice Fernz Head Coach, Rachel Park said the uncertainties around COVID-19 restrictions could have a very real and direct impact on any one or more of the team, and that as disappointing as the outcome of the decision is, the risk is simply too high and the decision to withdraw is the right one that’s in the best interest of the team and its volunteers.
NZIHF President, Andy Mills, added that while this was a disappointment for all players and staff, the 2022 year would allow the team to focus on development, allowing the team more time to work together in the lead up to the 2023 IIHF World Championship season.
The NZIHF will still hold the 2022 Women’s Triple Star Programme, a 3-day event held in Dunedin which focusses on player and coach development for women of all ages. More information and registrations for the event will be made available in the new year.
Consultation and planning for the two remaining national teams, the Ice Blacks and U18 Men’s, is still ongoing, with a final decision about their attendance still to be made.