Tag Archives: Sport

Sharing the Stoke

The Australian Ice Hockey League has forged a close bond with Alberta, Canada and 2016

sees  that bond strengthened with the return of Scott Swiston for 2016.

 

Fresh from another season with the University of Alberta-Augustana, Swiston returned to Australia for his second season in the AIHL.

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One can only think he enjoyed his time here.

 

Not only did Swiston lift the Goodall Cup for winning the 2015, he encouraged his Alberta

line mate, Connor McLaughlin to join him.

 

The duo really become a trio when Australia’s Beau Taylor hits the ice as Taylor also played

for the Univerisity of Alberta-Augustana with Swiston and McLaughlin.

 

Coming to Australia to play hockey may be seen to be the a bit of a holiday but the hockey

is fast and physical.

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The time in Australia also lets the boys experience a different way of life.

 

Training twice a week and playing on the weekends gives lots of time to enjoy other activities

like Surfing.

 

I headed down to the beach with the boys to grab some snaps of our ice skating stars,

sliding along on the liquid version of the stuff they call home, all thanks to Learn to Surf Newcastle.

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The air temp was 25 degrees, the water 20 degrees, a small swell and much less fans than

they’re used to but sport is all about fun and in surfing we call it “Stoke”.

 

The smiles really said it all.

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One from the archives – Marty Moose

Well it’s been two seasons now with our favourite Moose and we though we’d show you the first interview we did with Marty Moose.

A new interview is being organised but it’s not an easy thing to do, he’s a pretty busy guy.

Wandering out of the wilderness after a long Canadian Winter, a young Moose decided to leave his home in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to pursue his dreams of an ice hockey mascot career.

With a desire to experience the southern hemisphere, but with still a deep affinity for all things Northern, his heart was set on joining the Newcastle Northstars.

Marty is a handy right handed defensive player, but his real talent lies in revving up fans! Craig Tonks caught up with Marty over a couple of pieces of bark and some maple syrup.

Craig Tonks:: Hi Marty! Thanks for sitting down with me.

Marty Moose:: No problems Craig, great to finally be here!

CT:: So who was your favourite hockey team as a young moose growing up in hockey-mad Canada ?

MM:: Oh, the Manitoba Moose, for sure! My Aunty Marcia went to high school with their mascot Mick E. Moose in the late 90’s. Of course he’s an NHL’er now with the Winnipeg Jets , which is the dream of every young Moose growing up on the prairies.

CT:: Are you excited for season 2014 as the North Stars mascot?

MM:: Oh, definitely! I’m so excited to be here and I’m extremely proud to be chosen to represent the North Stars for this season and beyond! I’ve heard a lot about the hockey community in Newcastle and can’t wait to be part of it. Plus I’m keen to learn to surf, and eat some eucalyptus leaves. With maple syrup.

CT:: What number jersey will you be in this year?

MM:: Double O – You can’t spell Moose without O-O !

CT:: Are you expecting a warm welcome from the other AIHL mascots?

MM:: I’m not sure it will be a WARM welcome… but the other mascots will be cool. At the end of the day we all love our teams and our hockey. We can have a fun rivalry and still respect each other and hang out after. But we’ll see who has the better dance moves! I’ve been working on some stuff with some of the guys since I got here – JFK has been mentoring me. That guy can really move!

CT:: Well Marty, on behalf of the entire North Stars organisation we would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to Newcastle and we look forward to your debut as our official mascot! What sort of antics can we expect from you in 2014?

MM:: Thanks so much Craig! I already love it here and I will do my best to make the North Stars proud and spread awareness of our wonderful game. I met my team last night and they are a fantastic bunch of players. I’m not going to give too much away just yet, but we will all have a lot of fun! I’m on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, look for @MartyMoose00. There’ll be plenty of interesting stuff happening there, I do love my social media!

BIO Highlights

D.o.b. : 18.07.1990

Favourite food : Bark covered with Maple syrup

Favourite show : Northern Exposure

Favourite drink : Pond water, if it’s clean and icy cold.

North Stars Fans, the Moose is loose!

#wearenewcastle #mooseisloose

 

 

When is it Time?

There comes a time in every hockey players career when decisions have to be made on your

playing future.

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So when is it time and what do you do after making the call?

 

Do you go when it feels right or ride it out till you get the tap on the shoulder?

 

It can come at any time, could be by age, injury or form but is there life after hockey?

 

The answer is yes but the future can take many forms.

 

In Australia, looking from the top down where does an AIHL player go when the centre stage

lights get switched off?

 

While some will choose to walk away and that’s fine, many will choose the coaching path. This

could be due to their own kids playing Junior hockey or a chance to put back into the club that

they took the ice for.

 

Another option can be dropping down to a lower competition and this has many benefits for

those who simply love playing.

 

Having a retired player of a high calibre playing in a local or state competition, benefits the

hockey community as a whole.

 

Young players coming through the system will get the chance to play along side players they

look up to, this can inspire people on the ice.

 

If the younger players are smart, they will be tapping into a wealth of knowledge built up

through the years.

 

Although a coaching role is fine, a playing role will benefit the young players by on ice tuition

that is hard to show on a whiteboard.

 

The on ice system of “you go here” or “get there and I’ll set you up” can teach players positional play and how to look ahead in game situations.

 

Knowledge is a powerful thing in Australian ice hockey and losing former stars to the game can be akin to burning your copies of Encylopedia Britanica.

 

Looking around rinks we have current and former players sharing knowledge and developing

the next batch of AIHL Superstars, and who knows, maybe our next player to hit the NHL.

The Dreaded Pre-Season

The dreaded pre-Season

 

Most sports have a pre-season but what does a club get out of it?

Photo: Debra Jean Photography

Photo: Debra Jean Photography

 

After a long off-season in any sport there comes a time to dust off the cobwebs and get back on the park or in this case, the ice without points on the line.

 

The pre-season can be a good chance to see how some players have progressed and gives a coach a chance to look at a few players that could possibly make the team.

 

Many local players have come out firing in the pre-season and forced their way onto the team.

 

With limited imports available, it’s a chance to see how your local depth is and of cause a few younger guys who get to train with the team, will get a chance to play.

 

But what of the downside?

 

Well there are things like depleted lines as you are generally playing with limited or no imports.

 

A few other things that can impact on the start of the season are injuries and suspensions.

 

Losing a player for the season or an extended period of time, can cause a few headaches for coaches and coached don’t need headaches.

 

The pre-season can be a chance to lift silverware like the Wilson Cup, it can be a chance to give the home crowd a warm up for the season to come but it is a warning that hockey season is about to start, so get it together and be ready for opening night.

 

 

To Infinity & Beyond

Where to for the AWIHL?

 

Have you been watching the NWHL? If you support Women’s hockey, you probably should be.

 

Starting in 2015/2016 the four team competition has The Boston Pride, The Buffalo Beauts,

The Connecticut Whale and the New York Riverters.

 

I’ve always considered my self a fan the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League, our own four

team competition.

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The AWIHL is a great competition and the games have a great competitive spirit.

 

I’ve often felt the league lacks direction. The games are great, the girls rip in and play great

hockey so I’m talking management of the game, not the players.

 

So what can be done to drive the game forward and raise the profile?

 

I really think the AIHL should have control of the AWIHL.

 

It would bring the elite level of the game under one umbrella, one marketing strategy would

make sense and give the AIHL and AWIHL a year long product.

 

I for one would love to see some of the girls in the All Star Weekend or to have their own.

 

I would like to see Face Cages optional and women have the option of wearing a visor.

 

Now I know the AWIHL runs under IIHF rules so there would need to be changes.

It should be about choices.

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I would like to see the AWIHL level include body checking. It’s ok for a girl to play Bantams and

body check, but I’d like to think our elite level of women could body check. It’s not like there is

beginners out there.

 

Could the league have two more teams and still be competitive?

 

A four team competition is fine cause everyone makes the finals but the game needs growth, some thing that is not easy.

 

Expansion is not a dirty word and if the quality of players is there, then why not expand?

 

There is interest from Canberra to have a team and if they’re keen then again why not.

 

More women will be coming into the sport and lets have a national competition that’s progressive and keep setting the standard of an eilte league.

Beau’s Flow

When Beau Taylor returned to the Newcastle North Stars last week it was evident he had been working on just more than his hockey.

Photo: Deabra Jean Photography

Photo: Deabra Jean Photography

 

He returned to Newcastle with a very impressive flow, which for people still new to hockey means an impressive mane of hair, a hirsute human being.

 

A quick look around the league and you will see some impressive hair.

 

Beaus team mate, Jaysen Chalker has made some impressive flow gains in 2014 and was a team leader until Taylors return.

 

One the comes to mind is Viktor Gibbs Sjodin, which may be more on the fro side then long but impressive to say the least.

Add in his stable mate of Tom Voller and you have impressive hair that well and truely meets the flow requirements.

Down at the CBR Brave we have Shai Rabinowitz who worked on his flow over the Aussie Summer up on the North Coast, although Derek Walker beats him on length.

Over at the Melbourne Ice, Todd Graham meets the requirements of the flow club membership.

Who’s your nomination for the Flow Club?

Cash Positive Australian Hockey

 

 

The Australian Ice Hockey League is a semi-professional league where many players still pay to play, so how do we get to a point where players can actually become cash positive?

 

Revenue streams are something the AIHL always have to be careful with, the risk of becoming a losing entity always an issue.

 

The whole issue is complex and there is no easy answer and every person has their own ideas so we only hope to raise awareness and open discussion.

 

Let’s look at some of the ways we can work towards cash positive playing and this first article in a series looks at Merchandise.

 

Merchandising is something clubs can make money from but it can be very hit and miss, some clubs do well where other clubs struggle.

 

Would it be an idea to bring all the clubs under one manufacture where there is a quicker turnaround?

 

The ability to be able to purchase a t-shirt, with club logo on the front with a player name and number on the back would surely sell well but they would need to made on demand as having them on the shelf is costly and again hit and miss.

 

Go to some sporting events overseas and they can heat press a name and number on your selected t-shirt in minutes.

 

Currently in Australia, the Newcastle Jets A-League soccer team, currently offer this service for jerseys even if there is a cost involved of $25.

 

A previous attempt with Majestic Athletic to have centralised merchandising, was not what you would call successful however the current model is not better.

 

The possibility of centralising merchandising means clubs don’t have the outlay cost to have volumes of stock on hand but clubs would possibly sacrifice a percentage of profit to have access to a larger range.

 

A look at the website for PHA Promotional shows no t-shirts or hoodies on sale however if you want a puck or phone case, you’re in luck.

 

The Sydney Bears made a big leap this year when the produced players pucks which looked great and could be signed by the player it’s self.

 

The CBR Brave may have got off to a slow start with merchandise but the current range looks fantastic and has a really strong brand presence.

 

Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce could be an organisation that can link up Canadian companies to the Australian public to offer sponsorship for teams or the league.

 

The ability of companies like Air Canada to sponsor the league and benefit from the exposure that the Fox “Game of the Week” provides could work for other companies too.

 

Could companies like Blackberry or Costco benefit from sponsoring the AIHL in some way?

 

Could companies subsidise merchandise by having their logo on the sleeve?

 

What’s your idea??