Officials at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium have apologised to fans after a system malfunction and then freak weather caused an international ice hockey game between USA and Canada to be cancelled over the weekend.

The game at the 34,500-capacity New Zealand venue had been touted as the first open air international ice hockey match to be played in the southern hemisphere.

But it was postponed on Saturday because of a burst pipe that stopped the ice from freezing.

The match was rescheduled for Sunday, but, just as the game was about to start, strong winds tore down part of the plexiglass wall on the temporary rink erected in the stadium.

Organisers frantically attempted to fix the problem but eventually decided to cancel the event.

Westpac Stadium chief executive Shane Harmon told Radio New Zealand his staff did everything they could, and it was simply a series of freak accidents that led to the cancellation.

“Look we’re shattered, in the 18 years of the stadium’s history we’ve never had to cancel an event,” said Harmon, who confirmed all tickets, including booking fees, would be refunded in full.

“It’s very, very disappointing and we’re very, very sorry for all the ticket holders.

“For an event like this, certainly more questions need to be asked in relation to the infrastructure.

“Fans do respond to different and unique events and we’ll continue to look to do that, but having known nothing about ice hockey a week ago, and what we know now, we would be seeking more information.”

Image: Skeeze (Pixabay)