It is loud, it is cold and it is fast.
The Erewhon Cup ice hockey competition, held at the Naseby Ice Rink, drew enthusiastic crowds over the weekend.
Four A-level and five B-level teams from Christchurch, Tekapo, Dunedin, Queenstown, Alexandra, Gore and Maniototo competed for the cup, which can only be played on outdoor ice.
The tournament started on Thursday evening and matches continued over the Matariki weekend, the finals being played on Sunday morning.
On Saturday morning, Queenstown Goldrush played Christchurch, winning 7-2. A small crowd gathered to watch, warmly wrapped up on a cool but sunny morning. A barbecue breakfast and coffee cart were wellpatronised by players and spectators.
Christchurch winger Kurt Borland said playing outdoors was different from the indoor rink they usually played on. It was the first time the club had competed for the Erewhon Cup.
‘‘It’s harder outside. It seems quite warm. The ice is soft — it’s like skating on a lake.’’
The Maniototo team competing in the B-grade would have an advantage as they had experience on outdoor ice, he said.
Little Sister owner Megan Hay brought her coffee cart from Christchurch for the weekend, but is no stranger to Naseby.
She had been going to the town all her life and had a holiday home there, she said.
Her children, Jessica, 19, and Gabriel, 17, and their cousins Flyn and Louie Coburn had spent many holidays in Naseby.
Jessica had represented New Zealand in figure skating and Flyn Coburn represented New Zealand in natural track luge.
The uncontrollable element for the weekend was the weather, which was fine and sunny.
Ice master Jock Scott said humidity could have more impact on the quality of the ice than the air temperature.
Low humidity on a fine day was kinder to the ice than high humidity on a cooler day, he said.
Leading the table across all games, the Dunedin Penguins’ winning streak came to an end in the A League final, Queenstown Goldrush coming out on top.
In the B League, it was Maniototo which brought home the title.
The Erewhon Cup is the oldest ice hockey competition in New Zealand. It was first staged in Opawa, South Canterbury, in 1937.
It is open to teams from the Southern Ice Hockey League and must be played outdoors.
That means it can only be held at Tekapo, Alexandra or Naseby.