NZ Under 18 Men’s Confirm Their Division at 2024 World Championship

NZ Under 18 Men’s Confirm Their Division at 2024 World Championship

The New Zealand Under 18 Men’s ice hockey team managed to avoid relegation at the 2024 Division 3A World Championship in Turkey, all thanks to an early win at the tournament.

The Kiwis made their debut at the Division 3A level in 2024, having been promoted up a division following their gold medal victory at the Division 3B tournament in Bulgaria in 2023. In IIHF tournaments, the top-placed team in a tournament ascends a division, while the last-placed team is relegated.

Entering the tournament, the team understood it would be an uphill battle and set the goal of remaining in Division 3A, which required securing at least one victory and accumulating enough points to avoid finishing at the bottom of the table.

Head Coach A.J. Spiller acknowledged that while the team was there to win, realistically, facing higher-ranked teams like Belgium, Iceland, and Turkey would offer slim chances of medaling at the five-team tournament.

“The players performed admirably, maintaining a positive attitude despite the physically demanding nature of the tournament.”

This marked the first time since 2014 that the Under 18 Men’s team had ascended a division without facing relegation the following year, in doing so, the team has demonstrated its rightful place in the division.

“Whenever we had a bad stretch of play, we always seemed to have someone pull us back into the fight which is very encouraging for the future” said A.J. Spiller.

The team’s games concluded as follows:

New Zealand vs. Mexico – 2:5 loss
Bosnia & Herzegovina vs. New Zealand – 2:7 win
Iceland vs. New Zealand – 6:2 loss
New Zealand vs. Belgium – 4:7 loss
Turkey vs. New Zealand – 11:6 loss



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