Tuesday January 20th, 2015

New Zealand might have a lot to learn about hockey, but the island nation is ready to teach the stick-and-puck world about haka.

Haka is a Maori war dance that has been a part of the country's sporting fabric since it was first performed by the All Blacks rugby squad in 1905. It's described as a fierce display of a tribe’s pride, strength and unity and involves "violent foot-stamping, tongue protrusions and rhythmic body slapping to accompany a loud chant."

Before taking on South Africa last weekend at the IIHF U20 Div. 3 tournament, the host nation brought the tradition to the ice. Led by Lachlan Frear, the team doffed its helmets and gloves and advanced on the visitors.

A little more intimidating than banging your sticks on the boards, eh?

As cool as the South Africans looked, the haka might have rattled them. New Zealand rolled over their guests, 5-1, in the tournament opener.

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