Melbourne Ice Women’s team eyes finals glory
Docklands’ O’Brien Icehouse is set to host the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League (AWIHL) finals on March 9 and 10, with the Melbourne Ice Women’s (MIW) team hoping to “reclaim the championship title” in the 2023/2024 season.
Currently positioned at the top of the ladder, MIW is busy training for the remaining games of the season to not only secure a spot in the finals, but also to contribute to the establishment of women’s ice hockey as a leading sport.
“We went into the season with a lot of pressure on us to perform,” MIW’s captain, Georgia Moore said.
“We are that team that everyone else wants to knock off, so it puts a bit of a target on our back – we have to be performing at our best at all times.”
Having played ice hockey since the age of 9, Moore brings extensive experience to the team, representing both MIW and Australia in the sport, as well as having played overseas.
“I moved to Canada when I was 17 and I was there for 10 years playing hockey,” she told Docklands News.
“While I was away, the AWIHL started up in 2007 – it was great to be able to come back and jump into competitive hockey that was women-specific”.
Ms Moore describes ice hockey as not only a “highly entertaining, fast-paced sport”, but also one that requires a lot of strategy.
“It may look quite simple from an outsider’s perspective, but there’s a lot going on,” she said.
It’s one thing to be able to skate, handle the park, shoot and score, but it’s another thing to be strategic on the ice – you never stop learning and developing.
Despite noticeable progress for the AIHWL, challenges persist for equal opportunity between the men’s and women’s teams.
While The Melbourne Ice men’s team play for free, MIW players pay upwards of $3000 each season, and all staff are volunteers.
“There’s been a lot of change in the last couple of years for women’s sports, I think in direct relation to AFL Women’s and other sports that have emerged – people are starting to realise that it can be just as entertaining,” Ms Moore said.
“There are young women who are coming up now who are fantastic hockey players and they’re going to be way better than I am, and they deserve that opportunity to not be prevented from playing just because of financial reasons – there’s a lot of us senior players who are fighting for that equal right.”
One of MIW’s rising stars is almost 14-year-old Taylie Nelson, a Docklands resident and player in their Development Squad.
“I’ve been watching the MIW team since I was little and now, I get to train with them every week, it’s amazing,” Ms Nelson said.
“Training with MIW is like my dreams have come true – I’m still too young to play for the team in the AIWHL but I can’t wait until I’m old enough to wear my own MIW jersey.”
MIW’s next home game at O’Brien Icehouse is against Brisbane Lightning on February 24 and 25, which Ms Moore hopes the community will come out to support their local team ahead of finals, which will also contribute to the aspirations of players like Ms Nelson to reach their full potential. •
Photography: Phil Taylor