By Stuff

A three-test ice hockey series between New Zealand and Australia has been added to this year’s Audi quattro Winter Games in Queenstown.

The Ice Blacks will host their trans-Tasman rivals on August 31, September 2 and September 3 at Queenstown Ice Arena.

“It’s something we had in our initial planning, but it has taken until now to make it come to fruition,” Winter Games NZ chief executive Arthur Klap said.

 “This is all due to the efforts of both the Australian and New Zealand Ice Hockey Federations.”

It is the first time Queenstown has hosted an ice hockey international and New Zealand Ice Hockey President Gunther Birgel is hopeful that being involved in such an event will give the sport’s profile a significant boost.

“Ice Hockey is such a heavy impact and fast sport, and we are very pleased in being able to show off the excitement and skills of the sport,” Birgel said. “Being an official part of the Winter Games will give us a large exposure and hopefully a lot more people will realise that ice hockey is being played in NZ.”

Birgel added that he and his Australian counterparts were working towards holding the series on an annual basis, alternating between the two countries.