Wednesday, July 4, 2012 - Submitted by Peter Lambert
The Trans Tasman Champions League is an opportunity for the best two club teams from the previous New Zealand and Australian seasons to test themselves against the teams from across "the ditch".
All four teams have been the dominant forces for their respective leagues for several seasons, though in the case of the two NZ teams, 2012 is starting off as a bit of an exception.
While the North Stars and Ice have both had bad games this season, they are both winning at between 60-75% of their games.
For the Kiwis though, both the Swarm and the Stampede have started uncharacteristically tough seasons.
One key difference for between the AIHL and NZIHL is that the NZIHL plays up to five import players, while the AIHL is restricted to only four.
The NZIHL teams are also more used to playing full 20 minute periods, which will require the Ice and North Stars to run longer benches than they are used to in the AIHL, where 2-3 lines are used for three 15 minute periods.
The Swarm, Stampede and Ice all strongly feature with IIHF mens team players, the North Stars the exception with just goalie Olivier Martin wearing the Green/Gold this year.
All teams have good silverware cabinets. The Swarm and North Stars each have four national championships, with the Stampede and Ice two each.
One of the teams will have a new trophy for the cabinet on Sunday night.
About the AIHL/NZIHL
The AIHL was formed in 2000 with three teams and now has nine, and the NZIHL was formed in 2005 and still has its original five teams.