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New Zealand Ice Hockey League Announces Cancellation Of 2021 Playoffs

Due to the ongoing disruption and uncertainty caused by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions throughout the country, the New Zealand Ice Hockey League (NZIHL) has cancelled its 2021 playoff games.

Having already pushed back the dates of the semi-final and grand final games twice in an attempt to see these games played, the New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation (NZIHF) met with team staff and captains earlier in the week to discuss the options available to the league and gather their feedback.

At the meeting it was agreed that the ongoing restrictions on interregional travel, costs incurred with an additional extension to the playoffs season and uncertainty about when the lockdown restrictions might end, meant it was very unlikely the games could be played in a reasonable timeframe. It was agreed by all teams that the most appropriate decision would be to cancel the playoffs entirely.

Following feedback gathered from team staff and players, the NZIHF Management Committee, who administer the NZIHL, unanimously agreed via a vote to cancel the 2021 playoffs.

NZIHL General Manager, Andreas Kaisser, said that while this decision was disappointing for fans and players alike, it was the most sensible decision to make given the lockdown uncertainty and financial implications of continually extending the season.

The disruption to the end of the 2021 season follows a turbulent 2020 season, which saw a condensed exhibition series played in the North and South Islands, in place of the regular 20-round regular season.

While the Birgel Cup is not being awarded to a team for the 2021 season due to the finals not being played, the Skycity Stampede finished 1st in a dominant regular season performance, winning all of their points eligible games - a feat unseen in the NZIHL’s 17 year history.

The NZIHL would like to acknowledge its fans, volunteers, team staff and players for their efforts and support in the 2021 season. We saw record attendance numbers at all ice rinks throughout New Zealand during this season, and while the season may not have ended the way we wanted it to, we are grateful for your support and the fact we were able to play as many games as we did.

Planning is underway for the 2022 season, and the NZIHL will share more information about this in the coming months.

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