Is the “Del Basso” a step ahead for coverage of the AIHL?

As video footage of Ric Del Basso’s goal celebration goes around the world, what could this mean for knowledge of the Australian game? Will it see change from within the local hockey community as people learn the lessons about skating on your head? If the situation had of been different, you might not have seen it at all.

A favourite cliche of commentators and fans alike often refers to goaltenders standing on their head, referring to an outstanding performance. However in the last weekend of the regular AIHL season, a video has had many more views than any goal or fight footage this year. The Ric Del Basso goal celebration has gone around the world, giving people from all around the world a quick glimpse into the AIHL because of one goal celebration where a guy slid on his head. But what would have happened if that celebration did not happen at the Medibank Icehouse? Not all games are streamed or recorded in any way apart from social media, photographs or fan footage. Fortunately, the game in question – Melbourne Ice v Perth Thunder – was the Fox Sports game of the week by ATC Productions. Arguably, this was not the game of the week if every venue had the ability to cover games like what happens in the major sports. The AIHL coverage is done on a shoestring budgets and is highly volunteer driven despite a weekly show on Fox Sports.

Before the 2014 finals series and the 2015 season, it is important to think about the coverage that the various clubs produce at their venues. The venues which are better suited to TV/streaming coverage are those with glass (Icehouse, Perth Ice Arena, Hunter Ice Skating Stadium) although this does not happen in Perth currently. For the clubs who do not live stream, there is a lot of work to do to bring coverage up to the current levels coming from Melbourne, Newcastle & Canberra. While the extra coverage was greatly appreciated across the league in the AIHL community, the footage might not have been seen had the original celebration occurred at a different venue.

What would have happened had the game concerned was not the Fox Sports/ATC Productions game of the week? The Likelyhood ratings refer to your chance of seeing it at home live and then later online.

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Adelaide Adrenaline

Notwithstanding that the Adrenaline had the final weekend of the season to themselves and that I have never been to Adelaide for a hockey game, the best you might have seen were highlights via YouTube. The camera or cameras (most likely a single camera) would have need to be in the right spot to capture the shootout goal which is not an easy thing in itself. Adelaide do not live stream matches. So it is likely that you would have missed vision of this. You might have been told about it via Twitter – referring to Del Basso by number only.

  • Player Most Likely To Del Basso: The most likely players to score for the Adrenaline are captain Greg Oddy & Wehebe Darge. Darge would be more likely to celebrate out of the two. 
  • Player Least Likely To Del Basso: Greg Oddy has played over 300 games in the AIHL & has not got there because he does massive goal celebrations. He gets in & gets the job done with little fuss.
  • Likelyhood: 1 Will out of 5.

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CBR Brave

Petri Pitkanen icon by Stat Man Despite the conditions of the rink at the Bravedome and no glass, the Brave do live stream their games. Commentator Geoff Kopp might have blown a poofle valve when he commentated on the celebration, though. There’s a challenge for us at Hewitt Sports – let’s see if we can get Geoff to commentary on the ATC vision!

After the game, the Brave Montage Creation Department could have done an excellent montage with stirring music and the fans across the league would have once again said “Man, the Brave do good videos!”

Look for Anton Kokkonen in the finals to up the celebration stakes if he gets the chance in Melbourne – another neutral zone slide, perhaps? On Twitter, an injured or suspended player could have provided the update. If the player concerned later ends up in the penalty box, a Brave fan might be tempted to take a selfie with the player.

  • Player Most Likely To Del Basso: Anton Kokkonen has already done a neutral zone slide in his underwear for a Brave video. Skating on his head would not be as cold.
  • Player Most Unlikely To Del Basso: Stephen Blunden will be too busy scoring goals to celebrate them, especially against the Bears. He’ll leave the celebrations to Kokkonen.
  • Likelyhood: 5 Pitkanens out of 5.

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JPM icon by Stat Man

The co-tenants of the Icehouse have agreements in place with ATC Productions to stream matches live provided that the match is not the Fox Sports match or the ATC team are not otherwise committed. The nets are raised for Fox Sports games but lowered for live stream only games – this to me does not make sense. The risks to people at the rink are the same regardless of where the vision of the match ends up so if it is ok for no nets on Saturday (as happened this week), there should be no nets on Sunday. It is certainly a different viewing experience through the nets at the Icehouse compared to venues that do not have glass. Either way, you would have seen the footage.

Wisely, ATC knew that there would be interest in the video so they uploaded it onto YouTube and along with other members of the AIHL community, it spread to news services and mainstream TV. They could have held onto the footage until the game screened on Fox Sports 5 days later.


Melbourne Ice

Many AIHL fans will be aware of the Ice documentary filmed in 2012 which followed the club’s progress as they tried (and later succeeded) in their quest to score 3 Goodall Cups in a row. Footage was filmed for the documentary from locations that would not normally see cameras in 2014. On social media, the Ice would be sure to add #goplayergo on the footage. Their fans will add the comment #goplayergo to the comments about the footage of other teams.

  • Player Most Likely To Del Basso: Captain Lliam Webster could almost Del Basso on his beard.
  • Player Most Unlikely To Del Basso: Jeff Smith would need to get planning permission from the Melbourne City Council if he stood on his head during a celebration.
  • Likelyhood: 5 Pine-Murphys.

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Melbourne Mustangs

Fraser Carson icon by Stat Man The Melbourne Mustangs excel in providing access to players and doing interviews with players. Even bloopers are fair game and often are played online to show a different side to the players and club. If the Mustangs are at an away game, their fans still might see their celebrations live. This year, some of their fans have attended all 28 regular season games around Australia which is a marvellous effort. Would the Mustangs Twitter account type CELEBRATES!!!! after that celebration if one of their players were involved?

  • Player Most Likely To Del Basso: Viktor Gibbs Sjodin. Viktor loves to tweet & Instagram so he would be hoping that someone captured the moment on his behalf. That said, he might try and capture the image himself from the bench of someone else.
  • Player Least Likely To Del Basso: Ethan Cornford. Recently scored his first ever AIHL goal against the Newcastle North Stars, he would not want to try a massive celebration in front of his older team mates & possibly fail.
  • Likelyhood: 5 Frasers. 1 bonus point due to the likelyhood of securing an interview with the man of the moment.

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Newcastle North Stars

Harrison May icon by Stat Man Like the Icehouse, the Hunter Ice Skating Stadium has glass. Like the Melbourne games, matches are live streamed and are also released on YouTube in HD. Someone would have challenged Marty Moose to do the same goal celebration. JFK will be pleased because people aren’t talking about his involvement in the freak goalie goal (that could have been even freakier if Jaden Pine-Murphy made the shot himself on purpose) any more. If the player was a North Star, he would be spending 2 minutes in the penalty box for an interview the following week. The North Stars coverage is of similar standard to the ATC coverage and there has been co-operation and support between the two operations.

  • Player Most Likely To Del Basso: JFK scores some cracking shots for a defensive player and certainly has some dance moves as he demonstrated during his mockumentary.
  • Player Most Unlikely To Del Basso: David Ferrari might have the name of a supercar but he plays defence rather than score goals.
  • Likelyhood: 5 Harrisons.


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Perth Thunder

Matt Dugas icon by Stat Man While the Thunder has glass like Newcastle and Melbourne, it is not common to see the ATC Productions crew make the trip across the Nullabor. On the occasions that the Thunderdome has been selected to host the Fox Sports game of the week, most of the camera images look across the ice to the crowd. While the Thunder do produce some highlights for You Tube, they do not live stream their games. Twitter and Facebook is very important for the visiting team to see how their team is doing while in the west. Often, a social media person does not travel with the team to Perth so they rely on the Thunder to provide information. The information out of Perth has improved over the season.

Coach Stan Scott would be ecstatic about the goal and the win that lead to the original celebration, especially in Melbourne. Out of all the coaches in the AIHL, Stan would probably be most likely to celebrate the celebration.

  • Player Most Likely To Del Basso: Ric Del Basso already did it. Will he do it again? We’ll have to wait for 2015 to find out.
  • Player Most Unlikely To Del Basso: Captain Sam Wilson hasn’t scored many goals as a forward compared to some of the other players but often scores an assist.
  • Likelyhood: 1 Dugas


Sydney Bears

Bears goalie icon by Stat Man The Sydney Bears have an arena that many people inside the league from outside Sydney have not seen live or on a screen. There are no streams and the venue appears to be unpopular for filming. Like the neighbouring Liverpool Catholic Club rink, the Sydney Ice Arena does not have glass but only have nets. Unlike the Liverpool rink, the nets surround the whole arena. A different strategy & some love in 2015 will be needed to bring images from the Bearsdome. Social media has improved at the end of the season and the Bears faithful will be looking forward to a better 2015.

  • Player Most Likely To Del Basso: After his assistant role in Sean Hamilton Steen’s ALS Ice Challenge video, MVP Ben DiMarco is the perfect Del Basso candidate for the Bears.
  • Player Most Unlikely To Del Basso: If he could score and if he could skate on his helmet, the People’s Commissioner  and backup goalie Luke Read would certainly give it a shot.
  • Likelyhood: 1 Palmkvist (or 1 Read, if you prefer)

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Sydney Ice Dogs

Noting icon by Stat Man While the Liverpool rink doesn’t have glass, one side does not have the netting across on the side of the rink where the players stand during games. Unlike the Bearsdome, ATC Productions have visited the rink in 2014. While there were attempts at live streaming early in the year, this did not continue through the year for various reason. Despite this, there is usually some people asking before each game if the game will be streamed. A bigger & modern arena (similar to the Icehouse) shared by both Sydney teams should be the way forward in the medium term and this would increase the chance of coverage and attendance in Sydney. The best fans could hope by the end of the season for is fan footage through the nets.

The lower level of seating sold out for the final game of the 2014 regular season with many people standing. People also viewed the game from the mezzanine level which provides a better view.

  • Player Most Likely To Del Basso: Billy Cliff & Paddy Ward look like they could have a good time on the ice after a goal. Both players are important players in the team but don’t always get the recognition that Simon Barg, David Dunwoodie, John Clewlow and Robert Malloy achieve.
  • Player Most Unlikely To Del Basso:  Simon Barg took out the title of leading point scorer during the 2014 regular season but usually celebrates in a more traditional way.
  • Likelyhood: 2 Notings

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Eric Brook

Eric Brook

Sydney Writer
Eric was introduced to hockey in early 2014 after being invited to a Portland Winterhawks game in the WHL. After his debut season as a spectator in the AIHL, Eric is now a part of the Sydney Bears organisation.
Eric Brook


Hockey fan, player, commentator, promoter & writer | Train Captain | IYATO/Terrace House superfan | YouTube gamer | @hbrcityhockey @grassroots_au @simulatederk
One obvious thing about North Korea is the lack of western style advertising of goods & services everywhere. - 4 months ago
Eric Brook

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  1. I’m personally glad the Canberra commentator didn’t call that footage, he’s bad. We would’ve been treated as a circus by rest of the world. Not the image we need or want.