Monthly Archives: March 2014

Love Thy Zebra – Behind the Stripes

In any sport it’s easy to criticise the officials and referee’s in the middle. So what is it like to don the stripes, grab a whistle and take charge of a game? I set about finding out.


It’s great to able to write about the sport you love and be involved as a volunteer on game day, helping on the local media team but I thought it would be a good move to get out on the ice and officiate.

My journey started with completing the Ice Hockey New South Wales (IHNSW) Referee’s Course.


After watching many games of hockey and playing a season of Open B-Grade, I was up on the rules yet probably didn’t realise the complexity of some of the rules.

Passing a course is one thing but actually stepping out onto the ice is another thing.

The moment the first puck was dropped from my own hand, the game was a blur, not only did I need to think about where I was positioned on the ice, I had to be looking for offside players, icings and penalties like hooking and slashing.

As the game progress and the sweat started dripping off the brow, it was evident that this was no walk in the park.

The lactic acid kicked in, the legs were shaking and unlike a game, there was no chance to hit the bench for a rest.















Pushing on the game slowed down enough for me to catch up and settle into the role.

I learnt that being an ice hockey referee is not easy with many things going on at once.

I gained a new respect for the zebra’s in the middle, the work rate and how fast the action is around you.

Did I miss a few calls? Yes!

Did I enjoy it? Yes

Will I continue to be a zebra? You bet.




Canberra Wranglers

A year ago to the day I was watching the Las Vegas Wranglers battling it out in the East Coast Hockey League.

Photo:: Craig Tonks

Photo:: Craig Tonks

An amazing success in a small market hockey town, the Wranglers have worn a path to that success with fantastic use of Social Media and Marketing, such as the Midnight Round-Up Matches, Theme Nights and Entertainment.

Earlier this year, two weeks before teams were to submit their submissions for the 2014-2015 Season, a bombshell was dropped.

Bally Corp the owners of The Orleans Arena, the Wranglers home rink, advised the Wranglers that they have decided not to renew the contract agreement.

In a two week scramble, Wranglers General Manager, Billy Johnson was a man busier than a one armed bricklayer in Baghdad.

Finding a rink in Vegas is not the easiest proposition however Johnson was relentless and successful in his quest.

There was an outpouring from the Wrangler faithful that reached worldwide, including Australia.

There is a strange parallel between the battles faced by the Wranglers to those of the Canberra Knights of the Australian Ice Hockey League.

The Canberra Knights officially pulled out of the AIHL due to varying factors however the players came together and wanted to take the team over.

There are many hurdles in place and all these hurdles need to be cleared by April the 12th when the AIHL season starts.

Hurdles like securing $50,000 to be financially viable, gaining the use of the rink and having a new name and identity.

A city like Canberra need ice hockey and the AIHL but more importantly, the AIHL need the  Canberra Knights.

The amount of money raised in a few days is outstanding and it’s time for the AIHL to step up and do the right thing for Australian Hockey.

Keep the faith Canberra, it can be done, Billy Johnson is living proof.

The Knights need a new name….one could easily suggest the Canberra Wranglers.

Photo:: Craig Tonks

Photo:: Craig Tonks