While it is the off-season in North American and European hockey leagues, the ice hockey season is in full swing in Australia and New Zealand. Recently, Australia played host to the first annual Trans-Tasman Championship League tournament. The event pitted last season's playoff finalists from the Australian Ice Hockey League against their counterparts from the New Zealand Ice Hockey League.
The Melbourne Ice and Newcastle North Stars represented the Aussie league, while the Botany Swarm and Southern Stampede represented the Kiwi circuit. As expected, the two teams from the more established AIHL defeated both of their NZIHL opponents. Next year's tournament is slated to take place in New Zealand, with the tournament venue alternating in each successive year.
"I think it's a great competition. It's a big step forward. It can only get bigger and better," Melbourne Ice forward Lliam Webster told Australia's Back Page Lead.