Update: We have selected a team and will make an announcement soon!
With the Leafs season over, there's no reason we can't rally around another team. No, I don't mean in the NHL playoffs. If the Leafs aren't in it, screw those other teams. I mean we need to start fresh, start from scratch, and this means we head to where fall is just beginning: Australia!
Like Cup of Chowder, we'll be picking an AIHL team to follow and cover throughout the long offseason without our beloved Maple Leafs.
Here's a summary of the AIHL and it's member clubs:
The Australian Ice Hockey League is entering its 16th season, expanding from three teams to the current eight over those years, giving more and more Australians the opportunity to enjoy the game we love, but in their time zones. The AIHL is a semi-professional hockey league, so players play for the love of the game as much as they do for the paycheques. The AIHL plays with similar rules to European leagues. Their regular season standings are on the 3-2-1-0 system, 3 points for a regulation win, 2 for an OT win, 1 for an OT loss, 0 for a regulation loss. Each team will play the others four times per season. The playoffs are decided by a single game elimination tournament over a weekend, held in a single venue, like the NCAA Frozen Four. The top four teams compete and are seeded 1-4 and 2-3, with the final champion claming the Goodall Cup as their own.
The Goodall Cup was first presented in 1909, named for Australian hockey player John Edwin Goodall. It is the third oldest hockey trophy that has been consistently awarded, behind the Stanley Cup and the Allen Cup. The original Goodall cup, like the Stanley Cup, resides in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. The replica cup is presented to teams and brought to ceremonies and fundraisers. The AIHL didn't always have the Goodall Cup as their main trophy, but have had it since 2002. It was awarded via interstate tournaments previously.
Before we get to the teams, you can also find out some stories from the episode of the SDP that featured one of the more famous AIHL exports, Sasky Stewart.
Now, on to the teams of the AIHL:
City: Thebarton, South Australia
Arena: Ice ArenA
The Adrenaline have been AIHL members since 2008, replacing the Adelaide Avalanche who folded mid-season. For the 2008 season the Adrenaline were known as The A's.
Overall the A's have 77-29-20-78 record (W-SOW-SOL-L). They have also been awarded two points for ties due to cancelled matches. Last season they had a 11-3-3-11 season, finishing 5th overall.
Adelaide has wont he Goodall cup once, in 2009. They defeated the Newcastle North Stars 3-2 in a shootout in the final. They have made the playoffs 4/8 seasons, missing them the past 3 straight.
City: Philip, Australian Capital Territory
Arena:Philip Ice Skating Centre
The Brave were founded in 2014, replacing the Canberra Knights, who were the Canberra team for 33 years. The Brave were founded on conditions from the AIHL, who thought it was necessary for growth of Australian hockey to have a presence in the Capital Territory.
Overall the Brave have a 27-5-4-19 record with one tie. While the AIHL doesn't award ties, in 2014 Adelaide team was in a bus crash on their way to a game in Canberra, causing the match to be cancelled. Last season they had 13-3-2-10 record, finishing in 4th place.
The Brave have made the playoffs in both of their season, but have not gone past the semi-final stage.
City: Docklands, Victoria
Arena: Medibank Icehouse
The Ice entered the AIHL in 2002 and have been a force on and off the ice for the past 8 years. In their first four years they placed no higher than fifth place and split time between two different ice rinks for a few seasons. In 2006 the team was reborn as a scoring powerhouse, placing first overall in the regular season and saw their attendance hit capacity in their small arena. When they moved to their current home their debut there was sold out and all following games have been sold or close to.
The Ice have a 178-25-28-108 record all time, with 1 tie awarded for a cancelled match. In their first 4 seasons the Ice won a total of 18 games, and have averaged 16 wins per season since then. Last season they had a 15-5-1-7 record, finishing 2nd overall.
The Ice were back-to-back-to-back Goodall Cup champions from 2010-2012, and have lost in the Grand Finals the past two seasons.
City: Melbourne, Victoria
Arena: O'Brien Group Arena
The Mustangs were founded in 2010 as Mustangs IHC. They played their first complete AIHL season in 2011. In 2012 they changed their name to Melbourne Mustangs, after a restriction was lifted that only allowed the Melbourne Ice to use the city name.
The Mustangs have a 53-10-10-63 record all time. Last season they finished 11-3-2-12, 6th overall.
The Mustangs have only made the playoffs once in their five seasons. They finished first overall and won the Goodall Cup in 2014.
Newcastle North Stars
City: Newcastle, New South Wales
Arena: Hunter Ice Skating Stadium
One of the oldest team names in the AIHL, the original North Stars were founded in 1977, 23 years before the league itself. The North Stars would play in the "Super League" until the 1980's. The current Newcastle team would form in 2001 playing Senior B hockey. The North Stars would join the AIHL in 2002.
The North Stars have a 187-25-25-84 record during their time in the AIHL. Last season they finished 28-19-0-4, good for 1st place overall.
Five-time Goodall Cup champions, they have won in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, and are the reigning champions having won in 2015.
CIty: Perth, Western Australia
Arena: Perth Ice Arena
The Thunder were an exhibition team in 2011 and became a full time AIHL member in 2012. They've had an uneventful history in their breif time so far in the AIHL.
A 50-4-9-45 record over their lifetime so far for the Thunder. Last year they finished 14-1-4-9, for fourth overall, losing to Melbourne in the semi-finals.
The Thunder have not won any championships yet, and have not made it to the finals either.
City: Jamisontown, New South Wales
Arena: Penrith Ice Palace
The Bears were founde din 1982 as the Macquarie Bears. They changed their name to Sydney as the first national league was formed. Another name changed followed in 2007 after a split with a junior club they were known as the AIHL Bears. This was returned back to Sydney for 2010. The lifetime members of the AIHL the Bears don't have the trophy case to show for it, but have longevity and consistency going for them.
Over their AIHL life the Bears have a 136-25-18-172 record. Last year they finished with an 11-1-2-14 record, placing seventh and missing the playoffs for the fifth straight year.
They have won the Goodall Cup twice, once in 2002 and once in 2007, which was their last finals appearance.
City: Liverpool, New South Wales
Arena: Liverpool Catholic Club Ice Rink
The IceDogs were part of the expansion in 2002 and have been a competitive club up until last season. They were known as the "West Sydney" IceDogs until 2009.
Over the years the 'Dogs have compiled a 152-24-15-141 record. Last season the team was dead last with a 0-1-0-27 record, and were stripped of their three standings points because they were unable to field a full 15 man roster at times in the season.
The IceDogs have won the Goodall Cup twice, in 2004 and in 2013.
Those are our teams to pick from, when we had the idea to join Chowdah in AIHL coverage, many people had lots of opinions on the matter.
We've already had suggestions via twitter:
@PPPLeafs The tickets are mildly overpriced & the atmosphere is often lacking, but they're my team & I love 'em anyway. Ring any bells?— Peri Strathearn (@PeriStrathearn) April 5, 2016
@PPPLeafs @cupofchowdah @AIHL definitely the @sydneybears, the polar bear mascots need to stick together— Bryn Donkersloot (@bryndonkersloot) April 5, 2016
@PPPLeafs My vote will always be for my very own @ADLAdrenaline Born there, raised there. They've seen hard times, but they're solid.— Katy * (@KatyTearle) April 5, 2016
@PPPLeafs you want the ultimate rebuild story? Look no further. Former Champs to last then on the way back with young talent...familiar?— Sydney Ice Dogs (@sydneyicedogs) April 5, 2016
Now it's your turn PPP readers, vote below to let your voice be heard about who we should cover. Twitter, poll votes, and comments will be taken into consideration for our choice. We'll announce the team next week!
Which AIHL team should PPP support?[Voting is now closed]
|Newcastle North Stars||42|
|Sydney Ice Dogs||44|