The '''Australian Women's Ice Hockey League''' (AWIHL) is an amateur women's ice hockey league in Australia. This league represents the highest level national competition for women's hockey and is currently represented in five states: South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria. The Joan McKowen Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season. The current champions are the Melbourne Ice

Australian Women's Ice Hockey League logo

History Edit

Beginning Edit

Showcase SeriesEdit

In 2005, the probability of establishing a national women's ice hockey league was discussed by the '''National Women's Council'''. Due to large costs to players to participate in such a league, an alternative proposal for a much shorter '''Showcase Series''' was passed around for consideration to begin in the 2006 season. The Series would see four teams competing in mini-tournaments during February to June. Each round robin style tournament would occur over a weekend and throughout the Showcase Series period between February to June, each team would travel twice and host the tournament once. The first Showcase series was planned in February 2006 for Newcastle, New South Wales. The second series would be in March 2006 in Bendigo, Victoria, the third would occur in April 2006 in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. In May, the series would be held in Adelaide, South Australia and in June the fifth series would take place in Brisbane. At this time, a full season would follow in November 2006 and stretch over into summer 2007.[1]

The first '''Showcase Series''' proved to be successful where, in each min-series, 3 teams would play each other twice in a round robin style tournament. Five clubs ended up being involved in the Showcase Series which consisted of 5 mini-tournaments held on a weekend each month in a different city.[2] The '''Showcase Series''' returned for a second season in October 2006, and ran until February 2007. A national women's league did not start in November 2006, as previously hoped. In this second season 4 mini-series were held, one weekend mini tournament was played each month between only 4 teams representing Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Sydney. The purpose of the '''Showcase Series''' continued to be as a precursor to a national women's league that was being actively planned.[3]      

Forming the AWIHLEdit

The official formation of the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League (AWIHL) was in 2007, following the two seasons of "Showcase Series" that were held in 2006 and 2007.[4] The Australian Women's Ice Hockey League is recognised by Ice Hockey Australia (IHA) as the premier senior women’s national ice hockey competition.[5] The league held its inaugural season with four teams: Adelaide Assassins, Brisbane Goannas, Melbourne Dragons, and Sydney Sirens. The team that won the finals series at the end of each season became the AWIHL champions and were presented a perpetual trophy that was donated by Westlakes Trophies and Framing and was called the West Lakes Trophy.[6]

Joan McKowen Memorial Trophy Edit

From the 2010–2011 season onward, the Joan McKowen Memorial Trophy has been presented to the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League finals championship team and has been used since. The winning team is awarded a "keeper" trophy, however the original Joan McKowen Memorial Trophy has never been presented to a winning team in the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League.

West Lakes Trophy Edit

The '''West Lakes Trophy''' was formerly the Trophy awarded to the champions of the finals series in the AWIHL. From the 2010-2011 seasons onwards, with the introduction of the Joan McKowen trophy, the West Lakes Trophy became the trophy awarded to the minor premiers for the AWIHL and current remains so. The minor premiers are the team that finish first place at the end of the regular season.[7]

Logo change Edit

In October 2010, the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League conducted a competition to replace the original league logo with a new one. The competition closed December 1, 2010, and the original logo was replaced by the current one.[8]

Teams Edit

There are Currently 5 teams in the AWIHL, representing the Australian cities Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Sydney. It is anticipated that the league will grow to six or seven teams in the future. It has been speculated that New Zealand may join the league in the upcoming years.[9]

Team City Arena Founded Former Name
Adelaide Rush Adelaide, SA Ice Arena (Adelaide) 2006 Adelaide Assassins (2006-2010), Adelaide Adrenaline (2011-2015)
Brisbane Goannas Brisbane, Qld Ice World Boondall 2006
Melbourne Ice Melbourne Vic O'Brien Group Arena 2006 Melbourne Dragons (2006-2010)
Sydney Sirens Canterbury, NSW Canterbury Olympic Ice Rink 2006 North Star Sirens (2011-2013)
Perth Inferno Perth, WA Cockburn Ice Arena 2018

Team history Edit

Adelaide Rush Edit

Starting their time in the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League as the Adelaide Assassins, the team began by winning the finals championship for the first 5 years in a row. The Assassins were renamed the Adelaide Adrenaline when they became part of the existing club that had a men's team in the national competition, the Australian Ice Hockey League in the 2011–2012 season. At the beginning of the 2016 season, the '''Adelaide Adrenaline''' were renamed the Adelaide Rush.

Brisbane Goannas Edit

Queensland is represented by the Brisbane Goannas in the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League.

Melbourne Ice Edit

Victoria was originally represented by the Melbourne Dragons in the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League up until 2010, when they began playing under (trading as) the Melbourne Ice. Continuing to run as a separate Club under their own Committee they share their name with one of Melbourne's national men's teams in the Australian Ice Hockey League, operating under an MOU with support and guidance from Melbourne Ice. From 2010, the Melbourne Ice home stadium was the Medibank Icehouse, which was renamed as of September 1, 2015, the O'Brien Group Arena.

Sydney Sirens Edit

The Sydney Sirens were one of the four founding teams in the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League and represent New South Wales. From 2011 to 2013 the Sydney Sirens were known as the North Star Sirens but reverted to their original name which they presently use.

Perth Inferno Edit

In July 2018 it was announced that a fifth team would be joining the AWIHL, the Perth Inferno.[10] They played their first AIHL season in 2019.

Season structure Edit

The regular season in the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League runs from October to March and in season 2018-19 it changed to 30 regular season games plus 4 games at Finals. Each team will play 12 regular season games (four games against two teams, two games against the other two) and the top four teams head to the finals weekend. In addition to the top players from across Australia, each team is allowed a maximum of four imports on their roster with two eligible to play in any one game. As of the 2018-19 season the AWIHL is the first National competition under Ice Hockey Australia to play the regulation three 20 minute stop time periods.

Champions Edit

Year Champion
2006 Adelaide Assassins
2007 Adelaide Assassins
2008 Adelaide Assassins
2009 Adelaide Assassins
2010 Adelaide Assassins[11]
2011 Melbourne Ice
2012 Adelaide Adrenaline[12]
2013 Melbourne Ice[13]
2014 Melbourne Ice
2015 Melbourne Ice
2016 Melbourne Ice
2017 Sydney Sirens
2018 Melbourne Ice
2019 Melbourne Ice

References Edit

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External links Edit Australian Women's Hockey League official site Adelaide Rush official site Brisbane Goannas official site Melbourne Ice official Site Sydney Sirens official Site

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