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The Mighty Dragons

04 Oct 2018

The Mighty Dragons Image

In 1922, the first interstate women’s ice hockey tournament was held in Melbourne and the inaugural Gower Cup was won by Victoria against New South Wales.

Nearly 100 years later, Victoria once again won the Gower Cup at the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey Tier 2 Showcase Series Finals Tournament here at O’Brien Group Arena, Docklands on September 22 and 23.

Five interstate teams, Valkyries from South Australia, Bombers from New South Wales, Pirates from Canberra, Southern Stars from Queensland and Melbourne Dragons from Victoria competed in an intense, competitive but friendly 12-hour women-only event.

On the first day of the tournament, Melbourne Dragons convincingly defeated Aussie Jets (4-0) and Valkyries (5-2) but lost against the favourites, Pirates (0-3). On Sunday, they lost to Southern Stars (1-3) but had enough points from the two previous 2018 tournaments in Canberra and Adelaide to secure a place in the grand final game which they won against Pirates (4-1).

Three members of the Melbourne Dragons were involved in the tournament, Emma, the team manager, Nat, a player in the team and Dana, who is currently injured but is usually a player and also helps to organise the event.

Emma highlighted the importance of having a second tier for women’s ice hockey: “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).”

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,” she said.

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 co-ordination,” Dana said. “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.”

How do Natalie and Dana prepare for a national tournament?

Natalie said: “I am following a hockey fitness and strength program from I plan to keep training, keep improving and keep playing for as long as I can.”

Natalie is really 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 to be disciplined, 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.”

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