The Australian Ice Hockey league will host the 2012 AIHL Finals at the Hunter Ice Skating Stadium in Warners Bay, NSW.
Hunter Ice Skating Stadium (HISS) has previously hosted AIHL Finals in 2005, 2008 and 2009, along with the 2008 IIHF Division II World Championships.
AIHL Commissioner Tyler Lovering explained that there were a variety of reasons behind the decision.
"Now we have a conference system it makes sense to share the Finals location with the Bauer conference.
"The 2010 and 2011 Finals at the Medibank Icehouse in Melbourne were great for providing a spectacular venue and increasing the awareness of the sport in Victoria, and that's something we'd like to do in New South Wales as well.
"Hunter Ice Skating Stadium can fit up to around 800 people and is a much more intimate experience than in Melbourne, with seating up close to the ice.
"HISS also has glass around the rink and an excellent support base amongst the community and media."
The 2012 AIHL Finals will be the first AIHL Finals tournament where the finalists are the top two teams from each conference (Bauer and Easton Conferences).
Hunter Ice Skating Stadium has another advantage, in that all Bauer teams are within driving distance allowing both a reduction in costs and an opportunity for fans of more teams to see the Finals live and up close.
Finalist teams are not yet determined but with the home team [North Stars] at the top of the Bauer Conference and the Melbourne Ice at the top of the Easton Conference, fans have a good chance of seeing the 2011 Grand Finalists compete for the Goodall Cup.
All other teams are still in contention for the 2012 AIHL Finals, with the Sydney Ice Dogs in a big lead over fellow Bauer Conference teams the Sydney Bears and the Canberra Knights. The Easton Conference is a more open affair, with the Adelaide Adrenaline slightly ahead of the debutant Perth Thunder, while the Gold Coast Blue Tongues and Melbourne Mustangs still have a chance of making the "top two" Easton teams.
Ticket and travel/accommodation packages are being organised and information will be available to teams in the coming weeks.
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