Aardwolfs Ice Hockey Club
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The Aardwolfs is an ice hockey club based in Christchurch, New Zealand, that has several teams and organises frequent social events. The club currently has over 90 playing members and 25 associate members. It was created in 1998 by Glen Cameron and Tony Oston from the 'Varsity' teams playing in the High School league and the 'Sharks' team playing the B grade contact ice hockey competition. The Aardwolfs compete as part of the Christchurch Senior Non-Checking (SNC) Ice Hockey League run by the Canterbury Ice Hockey Association. The purpose of the SNC league is to offer a non-checking ice hockey competition for adult players and those who prefer a less psychically aggressive game. This is intended to encourage a friendly atmosphere where players go to play ice hockey and have some fun.
The SNC league grew and by the 2000 season a ‘B-Grade’ for beginners was created. This provided a stepping stone for beginners to the A-Grade. In 2001 the 'Aardwolfs A Team' merged with the B-grade Lonestars.
From 2000 to 2002 the level of hockey improved and the SNC Ice Hockey League grew in size to the point that no ice time was available in winter for the SNC to expand. In 2003 the SNC Ice Hockey League decided to switch to a summer season enabling expansion into three grades picking up an extra 6 teams to make it a 14 team league consisting of:
- Premier Grade: for skilled players to compete with each other without the full-contact factor.
- A-Grade: creating a stepping stone both up and down between the other grades, giving people the chance to improve their level of skill.
- B-Grade: offering a starter grade for new and beginner players to participate and learn basic ice skating and hockey skills.
In early 2004 the Aardwolfs Ice Hockey Club executive decided to form a masters team specifically for playing in masters tournaments and against visiting Masters teams. This follows the club's philosophy of actively pursuing and supporting all facets of ice hockey for its members. 2004 was also the first year that the Aardwolfs undertook a Southern Migration.
The SNC grew again in the 2004-2005 period to include a 6 team premier league but there was also a reduction of one A Grade team. Once again in early 2005 the Aardwolfs executive decided that expansion was called for, this time it was a second Team in the A Grade competition, the decision was to call the Existing A Team, Aardwolfs Thunder and the new A Team, Aardwolfs Lightning. This gives the Aardwolfs the depth they need to cater for the growing number of B grade players who are outgrowing the B Grade and looking to move up to the A Grade. This was also the time that the Blue Alternative playing strip was introduced. This was needed when the two Aardwolfs A teams played each other. The Aardwolfs ended the 2004-2005 Season with wins to the Aardwolfs B Team and the Aardwolf Thunder Team in the end of season SNC knockout competition.
In mid-2005 the Aardwolfs club committee started to put a team together to play in the South Island Masters Games. It soon became apparent that there was enough interest to form two masters teams: the Arthritic Aardwolfs and the Ancient Aardwolfs. This makes a total of 6 teams currently for the Aardwolfs. The 2005-2006 season was also a good season for the Aardwolfs SNC teams as the Premier Grade finished 3rd in the end of season competition, the A-Grade teams 1st and 3rd, and the B-Grade team coming in 2nd.
The Aardwolfs Ice Hockey Club runs an annual 'southern migration'. This is a social trip around the Otago and Southland regions of New Zealand. Ice hockey games are held against many of the local teams during the trip including teams from the Dunedin Ice Hockey Association.