Vigon: Confidence key to success at IIHF World Championships
Friday, April 13, 2018 - Submitted by Stephen White
In his third year as Australian national senior coach, Brad Vigon is about to again lead the nation’s best hockey talent onto the world stage in the Netherlands at the IIHF Division II - Group A World Championship.
The Mighty Roos had an excellent showing in Romania in 2017, finishing second in the group and narrowly missing promotion to Division 1B.
“We were outplayed in the first game, Vigon said.
“Anthony Kimlin then had a barnburner and then we somehow got an OT win and we we’re like “Hey we’re actually not bad”, and our confidence took a huge boost for the rest of the tournament.
“Our goal coming up from Division 2B was just to stay up and we far surpassed that.”
Vigon believes that the key to success at this year’s IIHF Worlds lies in the confidence of the team that put on a very strong performance and saw them win silver last year.
“I think the confidence that we have in the lead up to the tournament is the key. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves but I think we have a good deal of confidence going in,” he said.
There are four new additions to the Mighty Roos line-up this year. Stepping into a team already loaded with AIHL talent are the CBR Brave’s Per Daniel Goransson, the Newcastle North Stars’ Rob Haselhurst, the Melbourne Mustangs’ Michael McMahon and the Melbourne Ice’s Matt Armstrong.
“Armstrong’s a huge veteran presence and he’s a top level guy. He’s a top 6 forward and it just gives you a massive option offensively,” Vigon said.
“Goransson’s a big body defenceman. He’s played at an extremely high level in the past and he’s just an awesome guy and the guy who is going to step right into the team on the blue line for us. It’s the same with Michael McMahon. He’s another super solid defensive defenseman, a big body and plays a hard game. Haselhurst brings us speed on the blueline and through the neutral zone and a big presence in the locker room.”
Vigon is also looking for another big tournament from Joey Rezek and Beau Taylor who were standouts in their national debuts last year.
Fresh faces in Div II - Group A
The Netherlands have come down from Division 1B, while China have come up from Division 3. Everyone else in Division II - Group A (Serbia, Belgium and Iceland), Australia is very familiar with, but it’s the host nation that Vigon sees as the toughest challenge.
“They are on home ice and will have the strongest team. The only reason they got relegated last year was because half of their team was still in the playoffs. Tillburg plays in the German league and many of their players were unavailable during worlds last year.”
The Roos have already been hard at work in preparation. They will head to the Czech Republic for training camp for 8 days before arriving in Tillburg. However, it’s business as usual for the IIHF world stage.
“Our preparation is no different than any other year. If guys aren’t playing right now they’re doing strength and conditioning programs, and learning systems and strategies before they get to camp,” Vigon said.
Although they have a tough group ahead and are taking it one game at a time, promotion to division 1B for the first time since 2011 and staying up is not out of the question for Australia.
“The AIHL and Australian hockey is getting stronger and definitely headed in the right direction. The future is definitely looking bright with some of the junior talent coming through and for Australia to continue to move up.”
The 2018 Mighty Roos Team
Matt Armstrong (Melbourne Ice) Jack Carpenter (Melbourne Ice) Billy Cliff (Sydney Ice Dogs) Wehebe Darge (CBR Brave) Brian Funes (Sydney Bears) Per Daniel Goransson (CBR Brave) Rob Haselhurst (Newcastle North Stars) Anthony Kimlin (Sydney Bears) Mat Lindsay (Newcastle North Stars) Bert Malloy (Newcastle North Stars) Michael McMahon (Melbourne Mustangs) Kai Miettinen (CBR Brave) Tommy Powell (Melbourne Ice) Joey Rezek (Adelaide Adrenaline) Charlie Smart (Newcastle North Stars) Beau Taylor (Daysland North Stars) Richard Tesarik (Newcastle North Stars) Cam Todd (Sydney Ice Dogs) Kieren Webster (Perth Thunder) Lliam Webster (Melbourne Ice) Chris Wong (Melbourne Ice) Jamie Woodman (Perth Thunder)
Coach Brad Vigon Assistant Coach Matti Luoma Team Leader Steve Ransome Team Manager Ian Webster Equipment Manager Petr Cirkl Doctor Daniel George Physiotherapist Ashleigh Trupiani Chiropractor Rod Weiland
Mights Roos Games
The Mighty Roos commence their 2018 Division 2A World’s campaign in Tillburg, Netherlands on the 23rd April.