Melbourne Ice
Melbourne Ice Logo.jpg
City: Melbourne, Victoria
League: AIHL
Founded: 2002 (2002)
Home Arena: Olympic Ice Skating Centre
Colors: Blue, red and white
Head Coach: Paul Watson
General Manager: Ian Webster

The Melbourne Ice are a semi-professional ice hockey team in the Australian Ice Hockey League. The team plays its home games at the Olympic Ice Skating Centre (OISC) in Oakleigh South, a suburb of Monash which in turn is part of the Melbourne metropolitan area, but is set to move to the newly constructed Icehouse in Docklands for the 2010 season.

History[edit | edit source]

The Ice first entered the league for the 2002 season, and during their first two seasons they split their home games between Oakleigh South and Bendigo. From 2004 onwards, all home games were played at the OISC, noted for being the smallest rink in the league, with its width about two-thirds that of a regulation Olympic-sized rink. Furthermore, loose netting replaces the high transparent boards associated with top-level hockey, and the puck is prone to leaving play with annoying frequency.

Melbourne did not reach the playoffs in its first four seasons in the AIHL. Its first two seasons were coloured by several crushing defeats; its second season combined a strong, low scoring home record with a poor away record, again containing many big losses. However, in 2005, the Ice were competitive almost every week, both home and away, finishing 5 points out of the playoffs, and left rueing several third period fade-outs.

Attendances for Ice games have increased markedly over the past seasons, with the small crowd area often packed to capacity towards the end of the 2005 season. Away teams from the north will almost always play Melbourne and the Adelaide Avalanche on consecutive days during a weekend-long road trip to the south; however, the Ice play more double-points games than most teams due to these travel hassles for others.

Melbourne's strongest rivalty exists with the Adelaide Avalanche, on the basis of southern location. The Ice are also one of many teams who have somewhat of a rivalry with the Newcastle North Stars, who along with Melbourne also entered the AIHL in 2002, and who ultimately defeated the Ice in its first playoff game in 2006. Fans have become accustomed to entertaining, high quality (and often high scoring) games when these teams meet.

2006 season[edit | edit source]

The season got off to a shaky start when the Ice lost its first three games, all at home, including both legs of its traditional double-header against the Adelaide Avalanche. Their form recovered, and they won the next six games, including three double-points games, to move to the top of the ladder, a position from which they continued to build. On 5 August 2006, the Ice mathematically clinched the franchise's first minor premiership and guaranteed themselves a spot in the 2006 playoffs with a 5-3 win over Central Coast.

On 2 September 2006, they played their first ever playoff game against the fourth-placed Newcastle North Stars in Adelaide. Despite having swept the North Stars during the regular season, the Ice were exposed on the larger Adelaide rink and lost the game 6-1. The following night, after the final, president Josh Puls and captain Brad Vigon were presented with the V.I.P. Cup, rewarding the Ice's minor premiership.

2007 season[edit | edit source]

The 2007 season again began with the traditional double-header against Adelaide, and home games against the Rhinos and Knights in the following weeks, yielding four consecutive regulation wins (6-1, 5-4, 5-3, 4-1). The following month featured four road games: a 3-4 a shoot-out loss and a 2-1 victory, against Adelaide; a 3-0 victory against the Knights in Canberra for double points, and; a 2-3 loss, the team's first in regulation, to the Bears in Penrith. The team then returned to Oakleigh for a string of three home games, with a 5-1 win over the Knights, and 5-4 and 4-3 shoot-out wins over the Bears and Northstars (the first and second in club history). The following weekend, a high-scoring road trip to Brisbane saw a 7-3 win and a 5-8 loss to the Blue Tongues. Returning to Oakleigh the following weekend, Melbourne beat the Western Sydney Ice Dogs 6-4. The ensuing road trip saw a 6-3 victory over the Rhinos for double points, and a disappointing 0-3 loss to the Bears. Back at Oakleigh, the Ice were underwhelming in a 3-2 win over the Rhinos, and were soundly beaten 3-6 by the Bears once again. After a week off, the Ice returned with a dominant 8-2 home win against the Ice Dogs. The following weekend a road trip saw a 5-4 shootout win against the Northstars for double points, clinching a playoffs berth for the Ice, and a 4-3 shootout loss against the Ice Dogs, again for double points. The Ice were disappointing in their final two games, home losses against Newcastle (0-1) and Brisbane (2-4), giving them poor momentum heading into the finals. After results failed to fall their way in the final weekend, during which they were idle, the Ice lost the V.I.P. Cup to the Adelaide Avalanche. Drawn to face third placed Newcastle in another semi-final, the Ice were again unable to reach the final game, losing 3-6.

Forward Tommy Powell was awarded the inaugural AIHL MVP award. Powell was forced to be the Ice's offensive focal point during the first half of the season after Lliam Webster sustained a jaw injury in the first game, and he did so with great success. Stu Denman narrowly defeated Bears' goaltender Pekka Kankaanranta to claim the best G.A.A. in the league of 2.87. Five Ice players (Tommy Powell, Lliam Webster, Brad Vigon, Joseph Hughes and Stu Denman) were selected in the Australian squad of 22.

Leading scorers
Player GP G A P League
Tom Powell 23 16 18 34 10th
Lliam Webster 16 11 8 19
Joey Hughes 14 8 11 19
Devin Johns 15 10 7 17
Slava Kovshov 16 5 12 17

2008 season[edit | edit source]

Melbourne, and goaltender Stu Denman, opened the 2008 season with two shut-outs: a clinical 2-0 win against the Canberra Knights at home, and a 3-0 road win in the first of the back-to-back games against the Adelaide Avalanche, the other game yielding a 6-5 shooutout win. They then lit up the scoreboard with a 7-2 win over Newcastle at home, and again the following weekend with a 6-1 win over Canberra on the road for double points. A home-and-home series over two weekends against the Bears yielded the first two losses for the season: 1-3 in Penrith for double points, and 3-4 at home. The following day, they defeated the Central Coast Rhinos 6-4 at home. In the two weeks that followed, they lost 2-3 in a shootout against the Knights, then beat the Western Sydney Ice Dogs 4-2, both at home. A disastrous road trip following the departure of long-term defensemen Vinnie Hughes and Steve Laforet saw the Ice lose a double-points game 3-8 to the Northstars and a single-points game to the Ice Dogs 4-5. They recovered two weeks later at home in the double-header weekend against the newly founded Adelaide A's winning 8-4 on Saturday and 4-0 on Sunday, for Denman's third shut-out of the year, then continued the following weekend with a 5-2 win over Newcastle and a 6-3 penalty-filled win over Gold Coast. Still at home the following weekend, the Ice fought out an 8-7 victory against the league-leading Bears. The Ice clinched a place in the finals the following week, scoring a goal with 9.2sec remaining to beat the Central Coast Rhinos in a road double points game by the score of 3-2, however they were thumped by the Western Sydney Ice Dogs 2-8 the following day. Two weeks later, the Ice Dogs beat the Ice 1-3 in Oakleigh. The following week, a double-header in the Gold Coast saw a 4-6 loss and a 9-1 win against the Blue Tongues. In their final game of the regular season, the Ice beat the Central Coast Rhinos 8-1 at home.

The Ice finished third behind Western Sydney on countback after finishing equal on points, and were drawn to play them in the semi-final in Newcastle. In a very tight game with excellent goaltending on both sides, the Ice and Ice Dogs finished regulation time tied at 1-1, both teams scoring goals in the first period; eventually, the Ice Dogs prevailed with a goal 30sec into overtime, consigning the Ice to a 1-2 loss. Lliam Webster was awarded with the league MVP award for 2008.

Leading scorers
Player GP G A P League
Ryan Tremblay 25 23 29 52 4th
Lliam Webster 21 24 22 46 7th
Kyle Teague 22 14 25 39 11th
Tommy Powell 25 13 16 29 21st
Greg Sturrock 25 8 3 11 54th

Season-by-season results[edit | edit source]

Season GP W L T OTW OTL Pts GF GA Finish Playoffs
2002 14 2 12 0 -- 0 4 30 54 6th --
2003 6 2 4 0 -- 0 4 20 32 5th --
2004 26 5 18 1 2 0 20 53 71 5th --
2005 26 9 13 0 2 2 33 100 96 6th --
2006 28 21 5 -- 0 2 65 109 72 1st 3rd
2007 28 14 7 -- 4 3 53 92 69 2nd 4th
2008 28 17 9 -- 1 1 54 124 91 3rd 4th
2009 24 15 6 -- 0 3 48 113 77 2nd 3rd

Championships[edit | edit source]

V.I.P. Cup: 2006

2008 roster[edit | edit source]

1. Stu Denman: Starting goaltender, Australian representative
2. Lliam WebsterForward. Alternate Captain.Australian representative
3. Lee McLauchlan: Forward
4. Igor Skenderija: Defense, Import (Sweden)
5. Dylan Moore: Defense
7. Mark Howell: Backup goaltender
9. Jamie Bourke: Forward
10. Shane Hardy: Forward
11. Peter Matus: Defense, Former Australian representative
12. Thomas Powell: Forward, Australian representative
13. Thomas Zoeschg: Forward, Import (Italy)
14. Todd Graham: Defense
15. Sean Jones: Forward
17. Greg Sturrock: Forward,
18. Glen Mayer: Forward, Alternate Captain,
19. Doug "Bubba" Ferguson: Defense, Captain, Import (Canada)
20. Kyle Teague: Forward, Import (Canada)
21. Michael Beaton: Forward
22. Ryan Tremblay: Forward, Import (Canada)
24. Alain Giauque: Goaltender
24. Dahlen Phillips: Goaltender
25. Andrew Taylor: Forward


Paul Watson: Head Coach
Roy Sargent: Assistant Coach
Rob Knesaurek: Assistant Coach


Joshua Puls: President
Ian Webster: Vice President/Team Manager
Mark Weber: Founding President/Inaugural Life Member

Radio and media[edit | edit source]

In an Australian first, Melbourne Ice home matches are broadcast live on Melbourne radio station DOUBLE X 1611 AM, and its internet site

Away games are covered on radio through Match Reports, presented after conclusion of the away fixtures.

External links[edit | edit source]

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