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Fernz go wild for Turkey


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Four Queenstowners are hoping to experience some Turkish delight next month, when they suit up for the New Zealand Ice Fernz women’s ice hockey team.

Heading to Istanbul on Tuesday are Wakatipu Wild defencewoman Kimberley Helmersson and forward Gabby Mills, along with Ice Ferns manager, Arrowtowner Rebecca Dobson.

Once there, they’ll link up with fellow Queenstowners Caitlin Hollyer (defencewoman) and Tallulah Bryant (forward) — Hollyer’s been working in Whistler, Canada, while Bryant’s been training in Chicago.

Only Mills has previously made the senior national women’s side.

Dobson says it’s a “special honour” to represent the country, and she’s hoping more local faces will soon be donning the silver fern.

“Having several athletes selected from the area for the NZ team is a fantastic result for the rapidly-growing local women’s hockey community.”

Given the Queenstown Ice Arena’s currently de-iced, the Queenstown-based women have been travelling to Dunedin and Gore to get ice time ahead of the world champs.

They’re playing in the IIHF Division 2, Group B tournament, being held from April 1 to 7, playing teams including Australia, Turkey, South Africa and North Korea.

Meantime, SkyCity Stampede players Stefan Amston, Callum Burns (defencemen), Colin McIntosh, Dylan Devlin, Matt Schneider, Ryan Strayer (forwards) and Joel Hasselman (goaltender) were earlier selected to represent the Ice Blacks at the IIHF Division 2, Group B tournament being held in Sofia, Bulgaria, from April 22 to 28.

They faced Australia’s Mighty Roos this week in the Transtasman Ice Hockey Challenge, in Melbourne — the series was tied 1-all after two overtime games in a row, before the third and final game went to the Aussies.

— Olivia Judd

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