Five ice hockey athletes named to New Zealand Team for Winter Youth Olympic Games

By NZIHF | Posted: Tuesday December 3, 2019

Five ice hockey athletes have been selected to the New Zealand Team for the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

The athletes are:

  • Tallulah B., Wakatipu High School, 15 years
  • Jack L., John McGlashan College, 14 years
  • Caleb C., Dunstan High School, 15 years
  • Katya B., Ontario Hockey Academy, 14 years
  • Axel R., Wakatipu High School, 14 years


The athletes will compete in 3x3 ice hockey in mixed nation teams, meaning the New Zealanders won’t play as a national team but will be teamed up with athletes from other nations around the world.

Ice hockey team administrator Darren Blong says the Games are a once in a lifetime opportunity for the athletes.

“Our athletes will be competitive but it’s also important they enjoy the experience, build relationships and learn a lot while they’re over there,” said Blong.

“The boys are all strong skaters and are extremely hardworking, Caleb can play forward or defence, Jack is always getting involved in the action, and Axel is a skilled playmaker.

“The girls Tallulah and Katya grew up playing with boys so they’re aggressive players who are hungry to win.”

15-year-old Tallulah B. (Ngāti Kahungunu) has been spending as much time as possible on the ice as she worked towards selection.

“I practice in the rink all the time, in the mornings I do skills over and over again and then I play as many games as possible.”

“I wanted to go to the Winter Youth Olympic Games because I thought it’d be a cool experience and an opportunity to learn off some of the best athletes in the world. I’m really stoked to get in.”

The tournament will be contested by eight teams in both the men’s and women’s division.

“It’s going to be full on, there’s a lot of games in a short amount of time but I’m really looking forward to it. It’ll be great because it’s so international,” said Bryant.

NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith extended her congratulations to the athletes.

“Well done to the athletes for making it to this point. We look forward to seeing you compete in Europe in January.”

Luke S. and Caleb C. have been conditionally selected as non-travelling reserves.

The Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games will be contested from January 9th to 22nd in Switzerland and neighbouring France.

Around 20 New Zealand athletes are expected to compete at Lausanne 2020. 11 New Zealand athletes competed at the previous edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games, with four of those athletes going on to compete at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.


Athlete Bios

Jack L.

Age at Games: 14 years

High School: John McGlashan College

Ethnicity: NZ European

Career highlight: Winning the trans-tasman tournament in 2018 with 7 players and 1 goalie when everyone thought we wouldn't make it.

How did you get into your sport: I went to a USA vs Canada game in Dunedin with my Grandad, then my uncle took me to a have a go game when I was 7 years old.

What do you love about the sport: The high intensity.


Caleb C.

Age at Games: 15

High School: Dunstan High School, Alexandra

Ethnicity: NZ European

Career highlight: Playing Hockey in Canada for a combined Slovakian Team last Christmas.

How did you get into your sport: I was hanging around the rink while my sister did figure skating and the rink manager talked me into giving Ice Hockey a go. From then I was hooked.

What do you love about the sport: The speed of the game, the fact not everyone plays so it’s a bit different, meeting lots of people and getting to travel to cool places.


Axel R.

Age at Games: 14

High School: Wakatipu High School

Ethnicity: NZ European

Career highlight: Getting best forward in the NZ U15 league this year.

How did you get into your sport: I got into the sport because my mum is from Finland and ice hockey is one of the national sports there.

What do you love about the sport: I love everything about the sport but I mainly love the intensity of the game and how the game can change so fast.


Tallulah B.

Age at Games: 15 years old

High School: Wakatipu High School

Ethnicity: New Zealand Maori (Ngāti Kahungunu)

Career highlight: Going to Vancouver to the Prep camp 2019

How did you get into your sport: I thought ice hockey looked cool so I joined the Queenstown Ice Hockey Club. I was able to pick up skating easily because we used to go with the primary school as our outdoor education.

What do you love about the sport: I love being on a team. I love shooting for the goal. I love competing. I love how it's serious on the ice, like you just block everything else out.


Katya B.

Age at Games: 14

High School: Ontario Hockey Academy

Ethnicity: NZ European

Career highlights: My career highlight is being lucky enough to play Ice Hockey in Canada for such a good team.

How did you get into your sport: My Family - My Dad brought me into it as he used to play ice hockey, I got into hockey at a very young age.

What do you love about the sport: I love everything about this sport. My favourite things are skating, scoring goals, teammates and getting to travel and live across the world playing sport I love.



About the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games

Around 20 athletes are expected to make up the New Zealand Team for the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

1800 athletes aged 15 to 18 will compete in eight sports from the 9th until the 22nd of January 2020 as part of the Games.

The athletes will compete across Switzerland, and neighbouring France, enabling many regions to be a part of the Olympic spirit.

11 New Zealand athletes competed at the previous edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games, winning two medals. Four of the athletes went on to be selected for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.