The Dashing Gordon – Melbourne Ice @ Perth Thunder 27/04-28/4

(Re: the title of this post–my childhood was plagued by Scottish dance lessons and if I had to suffer, so do you.)

WELP. That happened

WELP. That happened.

On Saturday and Sunday of this weekend, the Melbourne Ice played the Perth Thunder. The Thunder were missing some imports who hadn’t made it for the start of the season, and the Ice were missing national players Lliam Webster, Tommy Powell and Todd Graham, as well as primary goaltender Dahlen Phillips, who had a family commitment.

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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.

Hot days and no hockey (linkspam)

Last weekend saw the end of the 2013 hockey season in Melbourne, with the AJIHL and the IHV summer league both playing their last games before the Christmas break. The Blackhawks and the Red Wings played twice last week, on Friday and Sunday. Both wins went to the Blackhawks, who finish the first half of the season at the top of the ladder with a comfortable two-win margin. Now, though, it’s going to be a quiet six weeks until we see some hockey in Melbourne again. Normally Jane and I would spend most of January avoiding the sun, drinking cold beers and sinking into despair of the Chicago Blackhawks’ inability to score power play goals, but who knows if we’ll even have any NHL games to complain about this summer?

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Summer break is looming (news post)

Note: our report on last weekend’s Melbourne Ice games are going to be a little later than usual as Jane has been ill this week. She will have a report on the double header against the Sirens, but right now her top priority is resting and getting healthy. Get well soon, Jane!

First up, the most important news of the day: if you live in Melbourne, head down to the Comics Lounge tonight and help the Melbourne Ice women’s team raise some funds for their trip to the AWIHL finals in March! Tickets are $20 and you can buy them directly from the Melbourne Ice players at the door. You get a great comedy variety show at a bargain price and help send the Ice to Newcastle for the finals – what’s not to like? (Unless you’re a Sirens, Goannas or Adrenaline fan, I suppose…)

Tomorrow night there’s the now-familiar fixture of Friday night AJIHL action between the Blackhawks and the Redwings at 8pm and again on Sunday as the junior league wraps up the first half of the season for the summer break. The last AWIHL games already played out last weekend, of course, with the Ice and the Adrenaline taking full points for the second week running. Read on for more about the AWIHL, some bits and pieces of AIHL news and more… Continue reading

More hockey than you can poke a stick at (linkspam)

Last weekend saw the second round of the AJIHL competition and their first round of hometown clashes, with two matches each in Melbourne and Sydney. This weekend we’re looking forward to the second round of the AWIHL, with the North Star Sirens hosting the Adelaide Adrenaline and the Melbourne Ice playing their first home games for the season against the Brisbane Goannas – among other hockey-related happenings in Melbourne this week.

Not to mention that this week also saw the announcement of the national U18 team, some excitement and reservations about next year’s USA vs Canada series in Australia and quite a show by Perth Thunder goaltender Kiefer Smiley.

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Lunchtime news roundup: AJIHL, AWIHL, movember and harness racing

The AJIHL is back on again this week with a couple of home town matchups. The Blackhawks and the Redwings meet at the Melbourne Icehouse tonight (Friday) at 8pm and Sunday at 2:30pm. Both performed well against the Sydney teams three weeks ago, so it’s going to be interesting to see how they stack up against each other. (Information about AJIHL game times has been a little fuzzy to date, but IHA plan to put up a full finalised schedule by the end of today.)

There’s also been some talk about the AWIHL’s opening games this week, how this season’s teams are looking and how they performed in their first two games. Plus we got a glimpse this week of what a few of our favourite AIHL players are doing with their offseasons.

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