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NZ Under 20 Mens Ice Hockey team image

The 2024 New Zealand Under 20 Men’s Ice Hockey team win silver at the World Championships

Two Otago students have led their team to a silver medal in the Under 20 Men’s Ice Hockey World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. The first time in eight years that a New Zealand Under 20s have brought home a medal.

Luc Taillon - Ice Hockey trophy profile
Captain Luc Taillon with the IIHF trophy.

Team Captain Luc Taillon is majoring in Politics, and Sports Development and Management with a minor in History. Assistant-Captain Ian Audas is also studying a Bachelor of Arts, with a major in Economics and Philosophy and minor in Bioethics. Both Luc and Ian also play for Dunedin ice hockey team the Phoenix Thunder.

We caught up with Captain Luc Taillon who says competing in the World Juniors Championship was an amazing experience, and he is grateful to represent New Zealand. This is his second and final year in the Under 20s team.

“Being named Captain this year was an incredible honour and responsibility. It was really humbling for my teammates to choose me, and this only made me play harder for them,” says Luc.

Luc says they were a very tough and hardworking team, and this approach helped them to win games toward the end of the tournament as they were dealing with injuries and illnesses. The team won against Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Bulgaria and Turkey, their only loss in the championship was to tournament winners, Israel.

NZ Under 20 Mens Ice Hockey Luc-Ian image

Assistant-Captain Ian Audas is centre, with Captain Luc Taillon on right and another team member.

Ice hockey has always been a huge part of Luc’s life. His father, uncle, grandad, and sister have all played, and therefore the sport holds a very special place in his heart.

“With that said, I love to win, and I love the competition and intensity of ice hockey. In addition to this, I love being a part of a team. Whether I have the title of leadership or not, I still try to motivate my teammates and build a good team culture. The bonds you build with your teammates are also incredibly special as I’ve met amazing people and developed lifelong friendships.”

Luc says time management is a huge part of keeping up with his university studies and ice hockey commitments. Once the season starts and there are more trainings and games, getting assignments and homework done earlier becomes important: “It helps that I actually enjoy what I’m studying!”

Sports management is one career Luc is considering, as he enjoys the “front office” aspects of sport teams, for example, acquiring new players to improve the team. A sports media career is another appealing option, combining his love of sports and writing.

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