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Hockey in the Land of Oz

There is one main reason that brought me over here. Hockey. My first night here, jet lagged and comatose from a nap I got in the car and headed to the rink. Very touristy thing to do sending the Canadian to the hockey rink. I was surprised at how nice the facility was. I had seen pictures and knew that it was the premiere ice facility in Australia but it could easily stand out as a nice barn back in Canada as well. Olympic sized ice and enough lighting so you can actually see the puck. The only difference was the prices in the pro shop and rate to jump on for shinny. Next to the Olympic Ice is a public skating rink that is decked out with spotlights, stage lights, disco balls and a big screen. Fun Fact: the big screen plays music videos during public skating which is easily visible from both of the benches on the Olympics Ice.

There wasn’t much time to let the jet lag sink in because we were on the ice that Tuesday (arrived on Sunday). I honestly couldn’t tell you that I knew what to expect, I had been given the heads up from people I had spoken to about going over here but never really knew what I was getting into.  I wasn’t Dorothy, so there were no red slippers to take me home. The closest thing to ruby shoes were my skates. The Ice was soft. That was the first thing I noticed. Not in a bad way. You just had to dig in more. There was a range of skill levels in the tryout. Considering the amount of exposure we have growing up in Canada to the game versus growing up playing in Australia these girls had incredible Natural skill and talent. Some of them could easily find themselves on NCAA rosters.

I came in for the 3rd and 4th tryouts. Only a few drills to get everyone warmed up and then mostly 3v3 scrimmage.  It was fun. Hockey was fun. It was the perfect mix of competition, fun and just enough work to have your lungs working overtime. Hockey translated just the same on Australian soil as it did in Canada. One puck, two nets and a few lines to trip over. After making the team on Tuesday we held our first team fundraiser last night at the Comic’s Lounge. There is a ton of support for this team as far as I can see and it’s refreshing. Maybe it’s because the population of females playing the game is smaller here than in Canada, but, the amount of stuff that is organized and done for the team is awesome.  We even have a Jersey presentation night on October 13th.

The season is different here. You have to be in the right mind set to come play. We will play 14 games MAX, and they are spread out over weekend from here until March. There are girls who are on the team from out of town so we also have a few reserve players who come out to every practice. Practice which is only once a week. A far cry from the 2x per week half hour late night drives from last year. Here you get to play hockey and you get to have a life, you don’t have to choose one or the other. This path isn’t for everyone but it is one that is an amazing experience… so far.

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