AIHL Talent Dominates IIHF World Championship Line Up
Thursday, March 9, 2017 - Submitted by Bernard McNamara
The Australian Mighty Roos team competing at the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships will comprise entirely of local players from the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL), Australia’s national ice hockey competition. Former Melbourne Mustangs Head Coach Brad Vigon, who led the Melbourne club to their first Goodall Cup Championship in 2014, will coach the young and upcoming Mighty Roos: a team which welcomes eight debutants in 2017.
The depth of AIHL talent will be on full display when the Mighty Roos go for gold in the Division II, Group A of the World Championships, hosted in Romania from April 3-9.
Australia’s National team will feature 2016 Goodall Cup-winning Captain Robert Malloy (Newcastle North Stars), 2016 AIHL MVP Wehebe Darge (Adelaide Adrenaline), as well as former imports - Josef Rezek (Adelaide Adrenaline) and John Kennedy (Newcastle North Stars) who were recently naturalised as Australian citizens.
After winning gold convincingly at the 2016 World Championships in Mexico City in the Division II Group B, the Aussies earnt a promotion to Division II Group A and will face much tougher opposition this time around in Romania.
The Mighty Roos will face off against Serbia (ranked 31st in the world), Iceland (35th), Romania (29th), Belgium (32nd) and Spain (30th), who were demoted from the Division 1 in 2016. See IIHF World Rankings here.
The Mighty Roos come into the Championships as under dogs, currently ranked 36th in the world. If the Aussies can capture back-to-back gold medals, it would propel the Mighty Roo’s back into Division 1, their highest international ranking since 2012.
The Mighty Roos campaign gets under way on April 3, when they face off against second seed Serbia at the Galati Ice Rink in Romania. Full Schedule below:
Monday April 3, 8pm AEST/7.30pm ACST/6pm AWST – Vs Serbia (31st)
Tuesday April 4, 8pm AEST/7.30pm ACST/6pm AWST – Vs Iceland (35th)
Thursday April 6, 11.30pm AEST/11pm ACST/9.30pm AWST – Vs Spain (30th)
Friday April 7, 3am AEST/2.30am ACST/1am AWST – Vs Romania (29th)
Sunday April 9, 8pm AEST/7.30pm ACST/6pm AWST – Vs Belgium (32nd)
Get the complete IIHF World Championships schedule here.
OUR 2017 MIGHT ROOS LINE UP
Billy Cliff (Sydney Bears)
Pat Nadin (Newcastle Northstars)
Wehebe Darge (Adelaide Adrenaline)
Mitch Humphries (Melbourne Ice)
Kai Miettinen (CBR Brave) - debut
Tommy Powell (Melbourne Ice)
Josef Rezek (Adelaide Adrenaline) - debut
Beau Taylor (Newcastle North Stars) - debut
Richard Tesarik (Sydney Bears)
Cameron Todd (Sydney Bears)
Kieren Webster (Perth Thunder) - debut
Chris Wong (Melbourne Ice) - debut
Paul Baranzelli (Melbourne Ice)
Jack Carpenter (Melbourne Ice) - debut
David Huxley (Adelaide Adrenaline)
John Kennedy (Newcastle North Stars) - debut
Mathew Lindsay (Newcastle North Stars)
Robert Malloy (Newcastle North Stars)
Lliam Webster (Melbourne Ice)
Jamie Woodman (Perth Thunder) – debut
Anthony Kimlin (Sydney Bears)
Charlie Smart (Newcastle North Stars)
Head Coach: Brad Vigon
Assistant Coach: Matti Luoma
Chef de Mission: Steve Ransome
Medical Officer: Dr Daniel George
Equipment Manager: Petr Cirkl
Team Manager: Ian Webster
MORE INTERNATIONAL HOCKEY IN AUSTRALIA
For local hockey fans, international ice hockey is set to return to Melbourne in March, when the Melbourne Ice play host to the New Zealand Black Caps on 25 and 30 March at the O’Brien Group Arena.
The friendly Trans-Tasman series is a warm up for both teams, with the New Zealand Black Caps preparing for their 2017 IIHF World Championship campaign (Division II Group B), which is being held in Auckland this year.