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President Emma is scoring goals

03 Jul 2014

President Emma is scoring goals Image

By Robert Bremner

Emma Poynton is a busy woman.

For many of us, working full time is enough to deal with but, on top of that, she is the president of a sporting organisation and  is also a player in her “spare time”.

Ms Poynton is the president of Melbourne Ice, a club that is based in Docklands and plays its home matches at the Medibank Icehouse.

Since she took over presidency in late 2012, Ms Poynton has seen a huge growth at the club.

“We have been getting more and more people to the games. Especially the derbies against Mustangs the stadium is reaching close to capacity,” she said.

Ms Poynton says the growth is partly due to the Docklands venue.

“The Icehouse is still a very new facility that offers big change rooms, referee rooms as well as a bar and a cafe,” she said.

The complex houses two rinks and has a capacity of 1650 to watch hockey matches, which has directly contributed to the growth of the club.

“Docklands has contributed to the growth of the sport in Melbourne. In fact the number of registered players has doubled in the last four years since the icehouse was opened.”

The club is still small and has plenty of room to grow. “We are an amateur club. No one gets paid; everyone here at Melbourne Ice is a volunteer.”

As well as being president of the club, Ms Poynton also manages the women’s side – a team that has also been successful in recent years and not just on the field.

“We have won the last two championships but importantly we are now getting 350 people to the women’s games while, in previous years we had about 150,” she said.

One of the difficulties she faces is finding sponsors and other forms of revenue for the club.

“It is very difficult for the women. Once you make the team you are hit with a $2000 players fee. You also have to pay for your own equipment and travel expenses,” she said.

This is different to the men who are compensated for all the equipment and also do not have to worry about player fees.

As part of her long-term goals for the club, Ms Poynton hopes that the women can one day reach break-even status.

Ice hockey, like many other sports is very male dominated. For Ms Poynton, who was the first female president of an Australian sporting league team, it is not an issue.

“A lot of people have asked me about being the first female, but to me it’s just a job that needs to be done regardless of gender,” she said.

Being in a male dominated environment is nothing new for Ms Poynton, who is used to it in her field.

“In my job as a podiatrist I was the only female in the clinic and back when I was a sports trainer there would be one or two girls down there in amongst 50 or 60 guys in the change rooms so its nothing new to me,” she said.

As well as managing the team, Ms Poynton was also a member of the team last season and hopes to be selected again. “I’m 33 now so I’ve only got a couple more years where I have a chance to make the team,” he said.

Ms Poynton has only been involved in ice hockey for a couple of years. She was previously a sprinter but suffered a foot injury that forced her to retire from the sport altogether.

It certainly hasn’t been easy reaching this point for her. Working full time as a sports podiatrist, taking care of the media work among other things at Melbourne Ice and finally training.

“It took a lot of hard work over the years to be considered good enough for the Melbourne Ice side and also to be chosen as president.”

Fast-forward to 2014 and Melbourne Ice are having one of their best seasons in recent years. They are firmly planted at the top end of the ladder and the president puts it down to the changes the team has recently undergone.

“There is a new coaching staff, a lot of regrouping going on and a bigger emphasis on team ethics. We had sports psychiatrist Anthony Klarica in over the break and we did a lot of work on team values and the importance of team performance over an individuals game,” she said.

Ms Poynton is also focusing on the up and coming generation of ice hockey players hoping to mould them into stars of the future.

“We are hoping to prepare them early and keep them around for the next 10 years.”

With her long-term goals firmly in place, Ms Poynton has one simple short-term goal. “I’d love to win a championship.”

There is certainly no reason why 2014 couldn’t be that year.

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