AFTER being put on ice for 13 years, the South African Ice Hockey Super League got moving again this week, thanks to sponsors who were able to revive the series.
GrandWest Ice Station hosted the national tri-city ice hockey series yesterday for the first time since 2002.
Lack of support from sponsors or the community had left the fraternity in limbo, and organisers said it was not viable to host the series over the years.
Thirteen years later, South Africa’s best ice hockey players from Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg are going face-to-face on the ice.
The series started in Cape Town on Sunday and continued into yesterday. The second leg will be held in Johannesburg from August 7 to 10, and then it will return to Cape Town for August 23 and 24.
The location for the fourth and final leg will be announced soon.
The Cape Town Kings beat the Pretoria Capitals 6-1 and 7-5 on Sunday. They were looking to freeze out their inland rivals in the final fixture of the Cape Town leg last night.
Jason Cerff, president of the Western Province Ice Hockey Association, said players were excited about the opportunity to compete at an interprovincial level.
Ice hockey was a sport often neglected in South Africa, with players not getting paid to compete, even at an international level.
“Many of our players are scouted to play for other countries. There is often very little support for players of this game,” Cerff said.
Cape Town Kings forward Wesley Krotz, who also has his South African colours in the sport, first picked up a stick when he was 13 years old and joined the Penguins club.
He was selected to play for the Western Province Under-14 team. From the age of 15, he has represented the country.
Krotz is now looking to spread his wings and play for a club in Canada – a move he said would “open doors for him and all other aspiring South African ice hockey players to be recognised as serious sportsmen”.
“I love my country and would do anything to gain experience,” Krotz said.
Tickets for the rest of the series can be bought at Computicket for R60.