AJIHL Teams Announced

Earlier in the week Andrew Hewitt reported that the formation of a new junior competition run by Ice Hockey Australia was due to start over the summer.  After receiving details on the new league from IHA, Hewitt gives an update on the situation.


Pic :: Paul Kelly – Shutter Speed Designs


The news that a national elite junior league had been formed and would start play in just over one month’s time was music to the ears of almost all hockey fans in the country when it broke earlier this week.

While the joy and benefits of such a league was clear, some were concerned of the ramifications that it would have on other leagues and players development.

IHA President Don Rurak was able to clear some of this up by telling HSN that all teams would be IHA state affiliated and not connected in any way to any AIHL franchise.

Underwritten by the IHA, Rurak also stated that “costs are at 100% of the players post IHA subsidy”.

As with any competition, each team’s roster in the AJIHL will have limitations.  The AJIHL will run under the same regulations that are seen at the IIHF World U20 Championship level where each roster will consist of a minimum of 17 players (15 skaters & 2 goalies).  These regulations allow for a maximum roster of 22 players which will give the AJIHL room to grow.

Growth is exactly what those behind the AJIHL had in mind when the concept first came to hand as Rurak explained.

“IHA had seen a need for the league some 4 – 5 years ago as a number of junior aged players had no place to play at a national level if they could not make an AIHL team. Because of this, many players stopped playing. It is expected the league will now retain junior aged players and have them better prepared for consideration by AIHL, National U20 & National U18 teams”.

The timing for the league has also been a point of conjecture amongst social media channels with some suggesting that the AJIHL should be played as ‘curtain raisers’ to AIHL fixtures.  Rurak makes a very good point for the summer program that can only be seen as a positive for the sport.

“By playing the league over the summer months, ice time is more readily available and does not impact on the winter season’s programs & leagues (AIHL & state). In addition Australia’s players will now be “game ready” when participating at the World U20 & U18 Championships as they will be playing in a high level competition same as their Northern Hemisphere competitors. Previously, players attempted to retain their playing skills through summer leagues and trainings and did not seriously train until the pre-championship training camps.”

AJIHL Assistant Commissioner Andrew McDowell informed HSN that the Victorian tryouts for their two teams will take place this coming Saturday evening with some well known young stars of the two Melbourne AIHL clubs confirmed to be skating.  Running the Victorian on-ice tryouts will be IHA Coaching Director Jeremy Muir ensuring the highest quality possible.

So, who are the teams that you will be cheering for?

Both NSW clubs will be run out of the Harbour City with clubs the Sydney Lightning and Sydney Maple Leafs to represent their state.  In Victoria it will also be the state capital that will host the AJIHL clubs as the Melbourne Blackhawks and Melbourne Redwings to take the ice in this exciting franchise.

With rosters and coaching staff yet to be named, be sure to check into HSN regularly to catch any of the latest news on the AJIHL.

by Andrew Hewitt

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Andrew Hewitt

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  1. I posted this on your Facebook in response to your request for name options, but it really should have been here. Please keep these pages going. Give more young people a say in this sport.

    1. Melbourne Raiders (1950-4). Became VIHA Raiders-Hakoah, then Hakoah after setting a record for five consecutive VIHA premierships. This club was a new home for the wave of European players who immigrated after the war. Coached by Oldrich Kučera, a prominent forward for LTC Praha (Prague), the 1933 Czech World Championship team (Bronze), and playing coach of the 1936 Czechoslovakian Olympic team. He was succeeded by Jan Kurzweil, a former Czech National League hockey player who also led the Hakoah soccer team. Other notable players were Czech defender Miro Roznetinsky; former Hungarian Tommy Endrei; 1960 Australian Ice Hockey Olympian Ivo Vesely; and Geoff Henke AO. A recent namesake was IHV Bendigo Raiders (2004-7).

    2. Melbourne Rebels. The Rebels IHC (1984-6) won the VIHA premiership in their first season. They were the result of one of several mergers of Hakoah IHC with other teams, this time the VIHA Lions.

    3. Sydney Corinthians. Corinthians (1911- 1913) were one of first three organised teams operated by the Sydney Ice Hockey Club, and the first Australian club of the legendary Jim Kendall who commenced here in 1911.

    4. Sydney Wanderers. Wanderers (1911-1913) were also one of the original three. Jim Pike, the first captain of New South Wales, was a Wanderer.

    PS. Kendall probably chose Corinthians because it means a rich amateur sportsman, especially an amateur yachtsman, after a little city called Corinth in Greece, known for its wealth and decadence. Kendall was an amateur ice hockey player, but he also sailed his skiffs “Iris”, “Cibou” and “Oweenee” from the Drummoyne and Port Jackson 16-ft Skiff clubs. He was 1924/25 State champion in Iris on Lake Macquarie, and the E J Kendall Cup at Port Jackson club was named after him early 1930s. These skiffs are unique in the world and peculiar to Australia. Jim Kendall also became exceedingly rich.

    PPS. Wez likes Carlton Cans ‘cos they’re good on ice, but so are Broos. And what about Bullockornis, nicknamed the carnivorous “Demon Duck of Doom”! They stood over 10 feet tall and lived only in Australia about 15 million years ago. Who needs Mighty Ducks? We got the mother of all duck, right … Melbourne Demon Ducks of Doom.