NZWIHL History

NZIHL February 18, 2018  3285

About the NZWIHL

The New Zealand Women’s Ice Hockey League (NZWIHL) was first established in 2014 and was originally set up to be played over the New Zealand summer, to help support and prepare the National Women’s team (Ice Fernz) for their IIHF World Championships in March. With the addition of a National Under 18 Women’s team, the league now acts as a great opportunity for female players of all ages to develop their skills and play together prior to the start of the World Championship season.

As of 2021, the NZWIHL is made up of four teams:

  • Auckland Steel (Auckland)
  • Canterbury Inferno (Christchurch)
  • Dunedin Thunder Women (Dunedin)
  • Wakatipu Wild (Queenstown)

The season is typically made up of 2 weekends of round-robin games, followed by a playoffs series.

The original three teams of the NZWIHL, were Auckland, Canterbury and Southern, as pictured below in the inaugural 2014 season.

Ice Hockey in New Zealand

The first recorded game of ice hockey in New Zealand was in 1937 when sheep farmers in the South Island played on the frozen lakes in winter. It has been played more or less continuously since then. Today there are over 2,000 registered players in New Zealand, in age group competitions from Under 12 to Senior Men’s and Women’s teams.

Ice hockey in New Zealand is governed by the New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation (NZIHF), with several NZIHF affiliated regions as listed below.

The New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation supports the NZWIHL through its overseeing of the league and women’s hockey in general, as well as running various hockey training programmes and providing funding to the league to reduce costs to players. The NZIHF is excited about the future of the women’s program and the future initiatives to help support its growth and development. With everyone’s support and positive enthusiasm – players, and regions, we have a great platform to grow women’s hockey.

Auckland Ice Hockey Association

Wellington Ice Hockey Association

Canterbury Ice Hockey Association

Dunedin Ice Hockey Association
Queenstown Ice Hockey Association
Maniototo (Naseby)
Queenstown Ice Hockey Association
Mackenzie (Tekapo)