Wednesday, May 18, 2016 - Submitted by Ellie-Marie Watts
One of the Proski Newcastle North Stars’ favourite sons, David Ferrari, will wrap up his AIHL season at the end of May to play for the Dunedin Thunder in New Zealand.
Ferrari was quick to say the decision to play for the Thunder in the New Zealand Ice Hockey League was not permanent and that he would be back to play for the North Stars next season.
“When I made the decision to go Starkey hadn’t retired yet,” Ferrari said.
“It was going to be easy. I don’t regret it, but it’s tougher to go now. But I said I was going and I have to honour that commitment.
“I’ll be back for sure, 100 per cent. If not filling water bottles, then skating.”
Ferrari has played for the North Stars since 2010.
It was only against the CBR Brave on May 8 that he scored his first ever AIHL goal.
Ferrari is a co-founder of NSA Hockey along with fellow North Stars Mat Lindsay and John Kennedy Jr.
It is his role with NSA Hockey and life outside of hockey – he will marry fiancé Eliza and the end of the year – that prompted Ferrari to head to New Zealand.
“[NSA] we’ve got some new concepts were pushing, which are starting to go live at the end of this year but next year they’ll be full strength, so I’ll be super busy,” Ferrari said.
“So, life, work and everything else, this is the last year I’ll be able to travel to play.”
Why New Zealand?
“I’ve never been there and to be honest it’s kind of the only place I could travel to and play hockey that has the same calibre league that is similar or just a bit behind AIHL,” Ferrari said.
“It’s kind of perfect; what I was looking for. It has a shorter season – 16 games over 10 weeks – so it’s not long to be away from home.
“My plan is, and [coach Andrew Petrie] Frij and [North Stars general manager] Garry [Dore] know this, to come back next year and play for many years to come.”
Ferrari also had a good reason for picking to play for the Dunedin Thunder.
“My perception of them was that they are the Newcastle North Stars of the New Zealand league – well run, the set up at the rink seems similar to ours, just little conveniences of it,” Ferrari said.
“But also when I got talking to them, they missed the finals last year where before that they had a similar tradition to the North Stars where they were at the winning end of the final so, I’m looking forward to playing with them this season.”
The 2016 NZIHL season kicks off at the beginning of June.