The AIHL 2015 Schedule has been released!

On Friday, the AIHL released the 2015 AIHL schedule.  Everyone has poured over it to find all the big exciting match-ups around the league, and to plan those road trips to far-off places in search of their hockey fix.

A couple of cool things to note about the Ice’s schedule:

  • The first game of the season is a home game against the Ice Dogs on ANZAC Day
  • The first Melbourne Derby is a Thursday night game less than a week later (30th April)
  • Speaking of Thursday games, we have three of them against the Mustangs.
    • Only one of those Thursday games is an Ice home game (23rd July), so get your tickets for the other games early!
  • We finish the season with a weekend road trip to Sydney, followed by a weekend road trip to Perth, and one last game at home against the Bears.

Without further ado, we present to you the Lazy Efficient Person’s AIHL 2015 Schedule, in a whole bunch of digital formats!  You can:

  • Download a PDF directly from the AIHL
  • Download files for your calendar of choice:
    • CSV File
    • ICS File
    • Check your programs documentation to find out which one you should use, and how to import it.  These files are off-line and do not update.
  • Subscribe to our Google Calendar using this ICS link
    • Check your programs documentation about how to subscribe to an online iCal calendar.  This is an online calendar, which we will be updating with results (and schedule changes if required) as they become available.

With all of these different ways to keep up-to-date, you should have no reason for forgetting about a game across the season.

Enjoy!

Melbourne Ice senior men’s team 2013

Every sports team sees some turnover in players from season to season. Sometimes it’s sad to see your favourites go, but new blood keeps a side fresh and constantly improving. That said, with the number of changes to the Melbourne Ice’s senior leadership at the end of the 2012 season with the retirement of the coach, club president and starting goaltender, it’s something of a relief to see so many familiar names when the club announced their 2013 AIHL roster today.

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Victories, losses and works in progress

Time has gotten away from me a bit this week, so I haven’t had time to write about all the big events of this week, though fortunately Jason wrote a great account of the AJIHL Finals. Consider this a catch-up post!

The big upcoming event, of course, is the Australian Mighty Roos vs Victorian All Stars game at the Icehouse tonight, the only chance Aussie fans will get to see this year’s national team in action before they head to Croatia to compete in the IIHF world championships, back in Division IIA. Tickets and team rosters are available from the Icehouse website, and the game has also been featured in The Age.

There are a few notable absences from the Mighty Roos, with players like Todd Graham and Nathan Walker currently playing overseas, but it’s still a hell of an exciting chance just to see the national team in action. The Victorian All Stars are going to be a treat to watch, too, with arch rivals from the Ice and the Mustangs playing alongside each other. Not to mention how interesting it’ll be to see some of the Melbourne Ice’s top players pitted against each other, with Lliam Webster and Tommy Powell on the Mighty Roos and the formidable trio of Jason Baclig, Matt Armstrong and Joey Hughes on the All Stars.

Read on for talk from the past week: the AWIHL finals, under-18 IIHF tournament and Nathan Walker’s adventures in Youngstown.

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Great things to come (news post)

It’s all happening in Australian hockey this week. As the women’s league hurtles towards the finals, the AIHL is stirring again with tryouts, practices and one big announcement.

This weekend is the final round of the AWIHL season before the finals in March. The Melbourne Ice visit the Sirens in Penrith while the Adrenaline travel to Brisbane to face the Goannas. Melbourne and Adelaide are still deadlocked in first place on the ladder with the exact same number of wins, unbeaten by everyone except each other. With both teams on the road in the final week, could we finally see one of them blink? The Goannas and the Sirens won’t be able to break into the top two spots for the finals, but there’s still plenty of room for every team to try to grab a good position before all four teams meet in Newcastle in two weeks’ time.

Meanwhile, many AIHL teams have been quietly gearing up for the 2013 season, getting back to practices and starting their selection process. Perth Thunder have been particularly talkative about their tryouts, with the return of Stan Scott’s Coach’s Corner (Part 1 & part 2) and even some video interviews. The Melbourne Ice are having their first tryout session tonight at 8pm, and fans are invited to come and watch from the St Moritz Bar along with club President Emma Poynton. And even those AIHL players who are still enjoying the northern hemisphere’s hockey season are turning heads – check out this week’s Buffalo Sabres feature on Melbourne defenceman Todd Graham.

But the biggest news this week was one that affects the whole league: this season, AIHL games will be shown on Fox Sports. (And further information from the Newcastle North Stars, who spoke with the commissioner and ATC Productions manager James Morgan.) It’ll be one featured game per week, and delayed, but nonetheless it’s a huge step forward for a sport that’s still trying to claw its way towards mainstream consciousness. The first game to air will be the Ice vs Mustangs season opener, and will be shown on ANZAC Day, which could give it an even bigger viewership. And for those of us who are already converts, it gives us a few more chances to see games held interstate that we wouldn’t otherwise get a look at. A huge win for Australian hockey all round.

A big weekend for the Melbourne Ice

Last year’s AIHL season is well behind us, but it’s not entirely forgotten. Vic Sports announced their 2012 award nominations yesterday, with the Melbourne Ice in the running for Men’s Team of the Year, along with the Melbourne Storm. Past winners of the award include Melbourne Victory soccer team and the Victorian Bushrangers cricket team, so a win for the Melbourne Ice would put them in good company.

Looking ahead, the Ice announced yesterday that Sandy Gardiner will coach the men’s team for 2013. Sandy has a long history with the club and has been an asset behind the bench for the team’s recent championship seasons, and we all look forward to seeing him at the helm from now on.

But the big event this week is what’s happening on the ice. In this weekend’s AWIHL matches, the Melbourne Ice and Adelaide Adrenaline sides meet for the first time since the opening round back in November. Both teams came out of that weekend with a win and a loss, and both have been undefeated since.

Andrea Steranko is going to be the Adrenaline player to watch – she leads the league in points and goals, and when I’ve seen her play in the past I was especially stunned by her ability to find breakaway opportunities. Bethanie Kavanagh’s also been a high scorer for the Adrenaline. On the other hand, the Melbourne Ice have a wide spread of players who have been scoring, and their defence has gone from strength to strength. It’s the most unpredictable matchup of the season. The only thing we can say for sure is that tonight at the Icehouse, someone’s winning streak is coming to an end.

Nathan Walker to play in USHL Top Prospects game

Just in this morning: Austin Cangelosi (who was the Youngstown Phantoms player who was going to play in the USHL Top Prospects game) is ill, and his place is being taken by Nathan Walker.

This is fantastic news for Walker. He’ll be under the eyes of a lot of scouts/NHL personnel. What’s even better news is that the game is being streamed for free, either at the USHL Facebook page, or at the USHL Fasthockey page (registration needed.) The game starts at 7:15pm American EST, which is 11:15am AEDT/8:15am WDT.

(… in around an hour and twenty minutes from the time of publication, OK?)

I am incredibly jealous of anyone who’s not at work and can actually watch this game.

EDIT: It’s over, Walker was #9 on team East, and lost 2-1. Didn’t get any goals, but at least one indie scout was impressed. The game’s now gone from free streaming to on demand–I could only keep half an eye on it, but I believe I’ll be rewatching.

Oh, and Walker made the NHL website, with a quote from their director of European scouting saying that he’s a great skater and works hard!