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The Mighty Dragons

 

In 1922, the first national women’s ice hockey tournament was held in Melbourne. Nearly 100 years later, team members of the Melbourne Dragons, Dana, Natalie and Emma, are involved in the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey Tier 2 Showcase Series Finals Tournament to be held in Melbourne on 22/23 September at O’Brien Group Arena.

 

As Team Manager of the Melbourne Dragons, Emma says, ‘The Australian Women’s Ice Hockey Tier 2 Showcase Series has been an enormous stepping stone to bridging the gap between the players local club hockey to the national Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League (AWIHL). The Tier 2 tournament series creates a player development pathway that clearly allows players to progress from their local club hockey up to the Tier 2 Showcase Series and eventually the AWIHL. Nationally, with the Tier 2 Showcase Series in its third year of operation, we see our player participation numbers increasing. This year we saw the competition for Melbourne Dragons player selection being much tougher with over 45 players nominating for the 2018 team, with final selection only including 16 players.’

 

Inspired by the movie, The Mighty Ducks, Dana has been playing ice hockey since she was 13 years old. ‘My mum and dad would drive me twice a week to the Ringwood ice rink to train and play with the Dolphins until we mustered up enough girls to start playing in Oakleigh and the Oakleigh Angels were born in 1999.’

 

Natalie started when ‘A friend invited me to a learn to ice skate class, which actually turned out to be an intro to ice hockey class. I had heaps of fun and got more involved from there.’

 

‘Ice hockey is a complex sport that requires A LOT of coordination,’ said Dana. ‘I love the camaraderie (I have made life-long friends), the feeling the cool air on your face as your skating, the adrenaline and intensity to fight the puck and the sweet taste of a bit of body contact.’

 

Natalie is also very passionate about this sport, ‘… I love getting better and better at ice hockey over time. Like many other team sports, ice hockey is really fun to play. Meeting other people who also love ice hockey is also great. My advice to everyone is give it a go and keep at it!’

 

Dana’s motto is ‘Practice makes perfect.’ She goes on, ‘Practice, practice, practice – get to as many drop ins and training sessions as you can. Ice hockey is addictive, once you start playing, you will forever want to play and be part of the coolest and fastest sport on earth. Travelling and playing with a team is a great experience and many of the girls make lifelong friends. We learn discipline, how to be a team player (obviously), get to know each other’s weaknesses and strengths on the ice and have each other’s backs. As hockey is a small community, the T2 Showcase Series allows us to compete against players from all over Australia which teaches us new skills. It’s such a fun and positive competition and I encourage everyone to try out and play!’

 

How do Natalie and Dana train for a national tournament?

Natalie says, ‘I am following a hockey fitness and strength program (from hockeytraining.com). I plan to keep training, keep improving and keep playing for as long as I can.’

 

Dana’s training program:

  • Off-ice Training: gym 4–5 times a week (pump class to build strength, RPM for leg works and cardio (HIIT)), off ice shooting on a net that my dad built back when I was a teenager. 
  • On-ice Training: Melbourne Dragons training, playing in a mixed beer league. 
  • Diet: clean eating a couple of weeks before each tournament and no alcohol.   

 

Emma states, ‘After two tournament rounds being held in Canberra and Adelaide earlier this year, the Melbourne Dragons are looking forward to playing at home in the Melbourne finals tournament at O’Brien Group Arena, Docklands, on the weekend of September 22/23. In 2017, the Melbourne Dragons finished third overall and this year will be looking to improve on that result.

 

And some final words for this tournament, ‘You can expect some upsets ??. Melbourne has been training hard and is ready to win ...’, says Natalie.

 

Dana agrees, ‘If last year’s competition is anything to go by, there will be good battles between the teams, a bit of feistiness (an elbow and a push here), some sweet goals and some sexy passes.’ 

 

Contact women@ihv.org.au for more information about the Tier 2 Showcase Series or if you would like to start learning how to play ice hockey.
 

 

 


 

 


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2019 T2 Melbourne Tournament
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