International Ice Hockey

International Ice Hockey has just swept through Australia. Pros (though not top-of-the-league NHL stars) formed Canada and USA teams that faced off in three games, with two in Melbourne last weekend and one in Sydney last night. I went to the latter, like a good Canadian boy.

It was a fun and well-organised event. Allphones Arena was sold out at 21,000 people. The series was tied at one win apiece so last night was the decider. Canada won of course, 9-6, and so took the series. TAKE THAT, EH!


The grade of hockey played was okay, but I realise that’s relative. It was better than any play you’d ever see here otherwise; the boys were fast on the ice, and the Canadian goalie was quite good (the high score notwithstanding). But as someone who’s seen plenty of NHL hockey they were going pretty easy. There was very little checking, and one or two half-hearted “fights” that seemed more for show than due to real grief. But it makes sense that no pro player is going to risk an injury for an overseas exhibition game.

The scores made it pretty clear that there was a big element of showmanship in all the games. The first Melbourne match was 11-9 for Canada, and the second was a USA shootout win after a 9-9 tie. At the end of the second period last night Canada was ahead 7-2. The third-period USA closing of the gap was completely for show.

But they had lights and music and firecrackers. They had kiss-cams and dance-cams and kids’ hockey between periods. They promoted the local amateur and professional ice hockey leagues. People drank beer and ate hot dogs and cheered whenever a bit of biff happened on the ice. The skating was fast and the passing reasonably skilful. The only nods to the fact that this game was being held in Australia were the announcer guest-spots with cricketers and the videos between periods explaining the rules.



1 Response to “International Ice Hockey”

  1. June 23, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    That’s awesome. Australia definitely has a few great leagues and will be a strong up and comer. That’s great to see!

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