This 12 months’s Goodall Cup win for the CBR Courageous capped off one of the crucial spectacular seasons from a Canberra-based sports activities crew in current reminiscence, says sport columnist SIMON ANDERSON.
THE CBR Courageous was probably the most dominant crew through the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL), successful 16 of its 20 video games to take residence the H Newman Reid Trophy as common season premiers.
They then went undefeated within the finals, beating the Newcastle Northstars 6-1 to qualify for the grand ultimate, earlier than assembly and beating the Novacastrians once more 3-2 within the decider to safe the Goodall Cup for the second time within the Courageous’s historical past.
The dominant season is all of the extra spectacular given how disrupted ice hockey has been throughout covid. Not like the leagues a few of Canberra’s different groups compete in, the AIHL went on a hiatus as state and worldwide borders closed and lockdowns have been in place throughout the nation.
For members of the Courageous, comparable to defenceman Nick Christensen, this meant discovering different methods to maintain abilities and health up because the 2020 and 2021 seasons have been cancelled.
“It was fairly powerful for us, particularly with the Canberra rink shutting down for nearly a 12 months. It meant even for those who wished to skate or play you actually had no alternative to – besides in your curler blades,” Christensen advised “CityNews”.
“It was good enjoyable although, there are surfaces that work nicely and there may be one at Denman Prospect, a model new courtroom the place we might meet for a roll round – very ‘Mighty Geese-esque’.
“One time, for my birthday I drove all the best way as much as Sydney simply to get one skate in. It was a very long time off the ice and never seeing anybody, so it made getting again to enjoying extra particular.”
These coaching periods through the cancelled season helped Christensen and his teammates ensure they weren’t fully rusty when this season ultimately rolled round.
“Regardless of how a lot you run otherwise you raise weights, skating is such a special train,” mentioned Christensen.
“Your physique hurts. There may be off-ice health and on-ice health and it’s shocking how totally different they really feel.
“Undoubtedly getting round and doing these roller-blade periods, after we might, helped as a result of it was powerful because it was, and I can’t think about what it will’ve been like with out that.”
The dominant season might have come as a shock to some across the league, however these across the Courageous knew the crew had a squad that may be aggressive.
“We knew we had a very good crew and for those who take a look at the squad, we’re young-ish – I don’t need to say younger any extra – however in 2019 we performed fairly nicely and had a terrific season,” Christensen mentioned.
“A couple of years later, when all the guys are a bit older you may take a bit extra of a step and once you regarded on the different rosters we felt like we might take it this 12 months.”
The Courageous’s head coach Stu Philps was additionally assured within the squad that was introduced collectively for the premiership season, and believes the membership is in a very good place to stay aggressive past this 12 months.
“I wasn’t stunned (with how the crew went this 12 months), that was my expectations earlier than we even bought a participant to step on the ice,” mentioned Philps.
“I knew the expertise we had within the locker room, I knew with Jordan Gavin doing all of the recruitment that we have been going to have a crew that was very aggressive.
“With the gamers we had from the 2019 season, we knew we had a terrific base to start out with.
“That core of our roster is so younger and can simply get higher and higher yearly. Probably we now have numerous profitable years forward of us with that squad that’s so younger.
Philps additionally credit the senior gamers and management group in serving to to steer the gifted younger facet by the season.
“They have been capable of make this crew their very own,” mentioned Philps.
“For a few years they have been the youthful guys on the crew wanting as much as another person and all of the sudden they have been those being regarded as much as – new guys on the crew, new imports and the opposite youthful gamers.
“They have been capable of tackle the management and create the tradition that they wished, and that they have been in a position to achieve.”
The way in which Philps and Christensen speak concerning the championship-winning squad means that Canberra is primed for extra success on the rink for years to return.
“We predict so,” mentioned Philps.
“With the squad we now have and the fervour the blokes should play and achieve success, the Courageous have created a successful tradition and the stats assist that with what number of video games we now have misplaced because the inception of the membership. This crew is there to push ahead and win it for a number of years so hopefully we are able to win a couple of.”
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Ian Meikle, editor