Over the last few years this has spread, perhaps surprisingly, to the ice rink. For a country that is not renowned for it’s winter sports, an appreciation for Ice Hockey has developed thanks to the ongoing work of the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL).
Undoubtedly, this has been spurred on by the recent visit of the American and Canadian hockey teams in 2013, which was a sell out tour and huge boost for Australian hockey. Scores of people flocked to stadiums across the country to see these giants of the sport do battle in what is always a heated and aggressive affair.
“It’s just one of those things where it’s such a fierce rivalry and Canada and the US, they hate each other and respect each other in the same sentence” Zenon Konopka, Captain of USA invitational team.
Lauded as the world’s fastest sport and ranked the second toughest in the world, Aussie fans have been drawn to the big hits, tough games and entertainment value of a sport that mixes the speed of the AFL with the toughness of NRL in confined space meaning fireworks at every turn.
Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne are all set to view first hand the electric atmosphere when the tour lands in July following a sold out game at Perth Arena in which Canada won nail biting victories over the Americans.
The teams will be compiled of players from professional leagues including NHL, AHL and ECHL, with captains Zenon Konopka (USA) and Kyle Quincey (CAN) to lead the battle. Joining the USA team will be Australian ice hockey star Nathan Walker, the first Australian to play in the AHL.
Playing on home turf, Walker will undoubtedly showcase his agility and skill on the ice. “We are so excited to be bringing the tour back to Australia, promising audiences plenty of action, rivalry and pure entertainment” Craig Douglas, promoter Douglas Webber Group.
Both teams will be playing for Stopconcussions (www.stopconcussions.com), a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness and education surrounding the consequences of multiple concussions and neurotrauma. Over the last 6 months the issue has been a prevalent issue in rugby and is no less so in the ice hockey world.
With tickets selling out fast, be sure to book your seat soon to one of the sporting extravaganza’s of the year. Tickets start at $79.
INTERNATIONAL ICE HOCKEY
USA VS. CANADA
Brisbane – Saturday 19 July, 2014
Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Melbourne – Friday 25 July, 2014
Rod Laver Arena
Sydney – Saturday 26 July, 2014