|National teams|| Men's|
|National federation||Ice Hockey Australia|
|IIHF since||February 11, 1938|
|Top league||Australian Ice Hockey League|
|Current champion||Newcastle North Stars (2015)|
Australia is an Oceanic nation on the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Canberra is the capital, and Sydney is the largest city.
Regional Governing Bodies
- Australian Capital Territory Ice Hockey Association
- Ice Hockey Queensland
- Ice Hockey Tasmania
- New South Wales Ice Hockey Association
- South Australia Ice Hockey Association
- Victorian Ice Hockey Association
- Western Australian Ice Hockey Association
|Australian Ice Hockey League||2000||-||Top-tier national competition|
|Goodall Cup||1909||-||Former interprovincial championship; now awarded to AIHL winner|
|Victorian Championship||1908||-||Regional Victorian competition|
|Victorian Ice Hockey League||1948||1952||Short-lived rival Victorian competition|
|East Coast Super League||2002||-||Regional New South Wales competition|
|New South Wales Championship||1922||2000||Former New South Wales competition|
|Australian National Club Championship||1955||1976||Former national club championship|
|NIHL||1980||1981||Former national competition|
|Slapshot Series||1983||1984||Former national competition|
|Australian Junior Ice Hockey League||2012||-||National under-20 competition|
|Australian Junior Competitions||-||Other junior competitions|
|Gower Cup||1922||1928||Former interprovincial women's competition|
|Joan McKowen Memorial Trophy||1995||-||Former interprovincial women's competition; awarded to AWHL winner since 2011|
|Australian Women's Hockey League||2006||-||National women's competition|
History of hockey in Australia
This important location for Australian ice sports began as a Cyclorama, which opened on Friday, November 28, 1890, at 89 Hindley Street, Adelaide. On the evening of Tuesday, September 6th, 1904, the building was reopened after being remodeled by a new group called the Ice Palace Skating Company, owned by H. Newman Reid and referred to as the Glaciarium or Ice Palace Skating Rink.
On the evening of Wednesday, October 12, 1904, a match for what was called "hockey on the ice" was held during the carnival at the Adelaide Glaciarium. This game was not ice hockey, it was an adaption of roller polo to the ice using ice skates instead of roller skates.
To-night a novelty in the shape of a hockey match on ice between a team from the rink and a team picked from the visitors will be presented at the Glaciarium, and this should be the prelude to a series of sports and carnival festivities which will enhance the attractions of the rink, both for skaters and the general public. The management have decided on Saturday morning next to admit children under 10 free, only charging sixpence for floorage and skates.
At the time this version of roller polo adapted to the ice was being played in Adelaide, ice hockey was already a well established sport and had been codified for almost 30 years. Though it was being called "hockey on the ice", it was not ice hockey.
The beginnings of ice sports in Australia can be linked to the Glaciarium in Adelaide but the birth place of ice hockey in Australia was in Melbourne, Victoria and was the first time ice hockey had been played. Organized games of ice hockey in Australia began with the opening of the Melbourne Glaciarium on the afternoon of June 9, 1906, at 16 City Road, South Melbourne Victoria.
The first recorded organised game of ice hockey in Australia was on July 12, 1906 and was between a Victorian representative team and the American sailors from the visiting American Warship the USS Baltimore. This game was held in the Melbourne Glaciarium The result of this game was a 1-1 tie.
|Australia||Herbert John Blatchly (captain)|
|James Service Thonemann|
|Gordon David Langridge|
|America (USS Baltimore)||F. G. Randell (captain)|
|T. H. Miller|
|D. F. Kelly|
|J. T. Connolly|
New South Wales was represented by a newly formed team in 1909 and traveled to Melbourne which marked the first national interstate ice hockey competition. This was the year that 16-year-old John Edwin Goodall donated the Goodall Cup to the interstate series. The Victorian state team won the inaugural tournament to become the first Goodall Cup Champions, with Robert Jackson as the captain.
The most influential player during the early era of Australian hockey was Jimmy Kendall, a Canadian from Halifax, Nova Scotia,. He arrived in Sydney in 1911 and was a big reason why New South Wales dominated Victoria in the interstate games. One newspaper wrote of him:" "Kendall's speed, accuracy and tremendous force of shooting at goal has never been seen in Australia before". Kendall played until the early 1920's and was one of the best players in Australia.
World War I curtailed the sport's development, and it took a while for it to get going again following the war. Some hockey was played in Melbourne in 1919 and the Sydney rink didn’t open until 1920. Soon associations were re-formed, basically from scratch as virtually everything had disappeared during the war; equipment, rules and players. In 1921 the interstate games were resumed, following a seven year hiatus. In 1922 Victoria won the Goodall Cup in a large part due to the fantastic play of their captain, the hard-nosed Morrie Bilsborrow. New South Wales would then embark on a 25 year run of dominance, holding the Goodall Cup until 1947.
In the 1920s player started to wear protective padding and gloves that they recieved from Canada. Tube skates were also used for the first time, with the longtime Victoria captain Ted Molony being the first to use them. Club names were changed and ice hockey was modernized.
The New South Wales Championship was first contested in 1922. A women's state series between Victoria and New South Wales also began that year, with the teams vying to win the Gower Cup. In 1923 a national federation named the Australian Ice Hockey Association (AIHA) was formed. John Edwin Goodall became the first elected president and A. De Long became the first elected secretary/treasurer. In 1932 the AIHA was renamed the Australian Ice Hockey and Speed Skating Council (AIHSSC). The organization was again renamed as the Australian Ice Hockey Federation and Australia was admitted to the IIHF in 1938.
Names that where to become part of ice hockey's history were beginning to appear in the team lists of both Victoria and New South Wales. By 1932 the Victorian team included Ellis Kelly, Harold Hoyne, Cliff Napthine, (his brother Mil joined him later) and Bert Cullen. Ted Molony was in his eighth year as Captain. Percy Wendt, Widdy Johnston and Ken Kennedy (Olympic speedskater in 1936 and ex-Birmingham Maple Leaf) were part of the NSW team that came to Victoria that year.
The emphasis was on Interstate Hockey in those days, and the approach to club matches was quite lighthearted to say the least. Hugh Lloyd and George Hewitt were two Canadians who played for Victoria and showed the Australians how to play the blue line correctly. Sadly the Winnipeg-born Hugh Lloyd died in an aircraft accident a few years later. In 1937 he organized his men to stand up against NSW better than anytime before and Victoria played very well in all three games.
In 1938 a second rink opened in Sydney (Ice Palais). A professional team was put together named the Sydney Bears. Four Canadians were bought from the Clayton Flyers (Northern Ontario). Russell "Doc" Carson (Goalie), Stewart Fielder,Frank Clifton and Donald Robertson. They also got two other Canadians who already were playing for another Sydney team (George Balork and Ken Tory). Excluding the Canadians four local players were on the club. The team won ten of their eleven games and tied the other one. The games attracted huge crowds and all the games were sold out.
The New South Wales hockey federation however disqualified the team because the Bears had failed to inform the federation about their Canadian acquisitions. They wanted to prohibit them from playing but quickly mellowed when they realized the PR potential for hockey in Sydney. At the end of that season the Bears team challenged what was considered to be the Australian national team. The game did never count though because the federation saw the Bears players as professionals.
A nice rivalry emerged between Glaciarium Rangers and the St. Moritz Bombers in the late 1930s. The Bombers boosted by the arrival in Melbourne of Russ Carson and George Barlok, two members of the Canadian Bears who had decided to stay on in Australia when the rest of the team returned home, were rarely beaten in the two years these games were played (1939 and 1940). These two find players also added to the strength of the Victorian side.
In 1938 Canadian Tom Coulter played for St. George (Sydney) while on a business trip to Australia. His brother Art Coulter played for the Chicago Black Hawks and was considered one of the best defensemen in the NHL. Tom Coulter had also played with the Black Hawks and was also an accredited referee.
He was the first NHL player to play the game “down under”. Tom Coulter was also a former Olympic athlete, having competed in the 1932 Olympics (400 m hurdles). Coulter displayed a rough brand of hockey that the Australians hadn’t seen before. With his 6 foot 2 inch, 210 pound body, he did some damage and caused a bit of a fuss among opposing teams.
September 14, 1938 was the day on which the much awaited clash between The Bears and St. George was held. The Sun newspaper had this clip the following day:
"For 40 minutes last nights hockey giants flashed and skidded in the fastest and most thrilling game for years. Play was rough but never out of control of referee Norm Turner whose quick decisions and refusal to tolerate infringements kept the players in check. Tom Coulter was penalized five times. 'Spike' Robinson was knocked out three times but recovered to score the winning goal.
The aftermath of this game and subsequent press coverage that followed led to a break away group being formed by the Ice Palais management and posed the first threat to Australian controlling bodies. The captain of St. George Club, Jim Brown (Ex-Grosvenor House Canadians player) sent a letter in the name of the Ice Palais management and inferred that player Tom Coulter of St. George was a 'dirty' player.
After World War II the Glaciarium again entered the hockey arena and the two new clubs were formed with headquarters in that rink, they were the Wildcats and Black Hawks; the teams at St.Moritz changed their names to Monarchs (from Southern), Demons (from Eastern), Tigers (from Western), Red Arrows (from Northern) . It 1947 was a memorable year as Victoria managed to win the Goodall Cup for the first time in 25 years. A key player in the win was Egon "Frosty" Winter, an Austrian player who had played many international games in the 1930s. Other important names on that 1947 Victoria team were Canadians Al Sengotta, Ray Sullivan, Colin Mitchell and the goalie Russell "Doc" Carson.
The Wildcats won the inaugural 1948 competition with a 3-0 victory over the Blackhawks in the Grand Final.
1951 marked the end of the VIHL. The Goodall Cup tournaments played between 1948 and 1951 were contested with Victoria playing at "half-strength", as VIHL players were unable to participate. In 1949 there was also a separate inter-state series featuring players from the VIHL battling it out against New South Wales.
Between the wars, Canadians dominated the ice hockey scene in Australia. After World War II a wave of immigrants came from Eastern Europe. The St.Kilda 14ft Sailing club from Melbourne decided to form a hockey team and enter it into the association as the Pirates. They got Sándor Miklós, one of Europe's best pre-WWII players who had represented Hungary in seven World Championships and one Olympic tournament. A short while later he was joined by fellow Hungarian Tommy Endrei.
Tommy Endrei crossed from the association to play with the Raiders, another Melbourne team. Miklós at the same time went to the Black Hawks. Czechoslovakians Jan Kurzwell, Miro Roznetinsky, Joe Lachman and Mojmir Zachar were others to join the Raiders, along with Carol Martin, leading the Raiders to several titles in the 1950’s. Meanwhile Ottawa born Frank Chase, an experienced Canadian who had played in England was brought to act as rink coach for St. Moritz. The St. Moritz rink in St. Kilda (near Melbourne) was built in 1939 and got its name after the famous Swiss ski resort in the Alps. It closed down in 1982 after a fire had destroyed it. The Association did gain admittance to the Olympic Federation and long range plans were discussed regarding the possibility of a touring Australian team.
The Goodall Cup was expanded to include Tasmania in 1952. Series' between Victoria and Tasmania and New South Wales and Victoria were contested. Tasmania and Victoria tied their series while Victoria triumphed over New South Wales.
A fire at the Hobart Glaciarium in Tasmania destroyed the equipment of the three teams of the Tasmanian Association. This occurred a day after Victoria defeated New South Wales in the third match of their series. An appeal was made to replace the 1500 pounds of equipment lost in the fire. No records of an intended final, decisive series between Victoria and Tasmania being played exist, and it appears Victoria won the Goodall Cup by default after defeating New South Wales. The Hobart Glaciarium shut down later in 1952, and Tasmania did not return to the Goodall Cup the following year.
The Australian National Club Championship was contested for the first time in 1955 and was held annually from 1962 to 1976. In 1960 16 different clubs played club hockey on Australia; seven in both New South Wales and Victoria and two in Queensland. The federal state champs in New South Wales were the Prague Bombers and in Victoria it was the Melbourne Blackhawks, the two best clubs at that time. The Prague Bombers were later renamed to Waringah Bombers. The club had a large constituency of Czech expatriates on the team, hence "Prague" being in the title. Queensland won the Goodall Cup in 1977, becoming the first state to break the hegemony of Victoria and New South Wales
Other short-lived national club competitions included the NIHL (1980-1981) and the Slapshot Series (1983-1984). The latter was showcased live on Australian television, a first for ice hockey in the country.
n 1980 Australia appointed its first ever National Coaching Director. To encourage greater participation among young Australians, a new amateur system was implemented. In the mid-1980s it was decided that only five foreigners would be allowed on each team. This change was made to help the development of native Australian players. Championships. The NSW-ACT Super League (CP Air Cup Superleague) was formed in 1982 was the most important one attracting the largest crowds. New ice rinks were built around Australia, the most modern being the Macquarie Rink in Sydney, the only Olympic sized ice rink in the country.
The Australian Ice Hockey League was formed as the country's premier competition in 2000. The Goodall Cup has been awarded to the league champion since 2002, with the exception of 2009, when it was again played as an inter-state series to commemorate its 100th anniversary.
Competitions have also been played in the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland (Brisbane United Ice Hockey League), South Australia, Tasmania (Van Diemens League), and Western Australia (SuperLeague) in recent years.
An inter-state women's ice hockey championship was held once again in 1994. Women's leagues had sprung up in New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria in the early 1990s. By this point it had been over 60 years since the Gower Cup had been contested. It became the Joan McKowen Memorial Trophy in 1995 and has been awarded to the winner of the Australian Women's Hockey League (played since 2006) since 2011.
The Australian men's national team made its debut at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley. They finished in ninth and last place, failing to win a game. The top players on this team were the Canadian-born players David Cunningham and Russell Jones. Victor Ekberg and Ivo Vesely also played key roles on this pioneering squad.
After returning to play in the B Pool of the World Championships in 1962 and participating in qualification for the 1964 Winter Olympics, the national team was inactive until 1974. At the 1987 World Championship D Pool, they defeated New Zealand by a score of 58-0.
The women's national team made its debut at the Women's World Championships in 2000. The team won the Division III tournament in 2003 and 2007. Since 2012 they have participated in the IIA and IIB divisions.
The junior national team first competed at the World U20 Championships in 1983, playing in Pool C. They have only played in the lower pools of the World Juniors. The U18 national team participated in the IIHF Asian Oceanic U18 Championships from 1984 to 2002, winning the silver medal once and the bronze medal twice. They have played in the World U18 Championships since 2003.
- "The History of Australian Ice Hockey". Australian Ice Hockey Federation - the official website. http://www.iha.org.au/files/uploaded_documents/379/IHA_History_%2804.03.12%29.pdf. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
- "The Cyclorama". State Library of South Australia. http://guides.slsa.sa.gov.au/content.php?pid=444071&sid=3636668. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "The "Glaciarium"". The Argus - The "Glaciarium". http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/10048469. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- "The Glaciarium, 16 City Road, South Melbourne". Harold Paynting Collection, State Library of Victoria. - The Glaciarium, 16 City Road, South Melbourne. http://digital.slv.vic.gov.au/view/action/nmets.do?DOCCHOICE=336734.xml&dvs=1425054652600~826&locale=en_US&search_terms=&adjacency=&divType=&usePid1=true&usePid2=true. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- "Jack Carpenter's Victoria A Brief History of Ice Time". Legends of Australian Ice - Jack Carpenter's Victoria A Brief History of Ice Time. http://icelegendsaustralia.com/1stIceChampions-builders.html. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- "The History of Australian Ice Hockey". Australian Ice Hockey Federation - the official website. http://www.iha.org.au/files/uploaded_documents/379/IHA_History_%2804.03.12%29.pdf. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- Ice Legends Australia
- AIHL Almanac 2014, Michael Krein (2013).
- AWIHL History
- National Teams of Ice Hockey - Australia
Special thanks to Patrick H. for supplying information on this country.