Do you love the fast-paced action of ice hockey? The power plays? The slap shots? Maybe you’ve watched an NHL game or two (or you’re nostalgic for The Mighty Ducks).
Ever wanted to give it a try?
Shona’s captained the Melbourne Ice Women’s team since their 2011–12 season. In that time, the Ice have taken home five out of six of the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League (AWIHL) finals.
Who better to teach people of all ages how to play ice hockey? Shona will teach you how to skate like a hockey player. You’ll also learn puck-handling, passing and shooting techniques; all the while building up to a (friendly) game of hockey.
Read on to find out more about Shona and the Hockey Academy, then find her on the ice at O’Brien Group Arena.
Tell us about the Hockey Academy – can anyone join?
I coach and teach school groups of all abilities. My youngest student is three and my oldest student is over 60. We run a 10-week program where anyone can learn how to play ice hockey – even if you’ve never skated before.
You’re in full hockey gear from the get go at Hockey Academy. It’s really awesome to see how much someone’s on-ice abilities grow in just one hour a week. In week one, some students can’t let go of the board. As the weeks progress, they are out skating around and playing a game come week 10.
It’s so easy to join. The Hockey Academy is no more expensive than most other sports and all the gear is included – you don’t need to buy a thing to be involved.
Are more women and girls becoming interested in joining the sport?
Girls are seeing the structured women’s league and are becoming more and more interested in playing hockey. The Hockey Academy is half male and half female – a good mix, especially in our youth programs with young girls more and more getting involved in the sport.
What’s your most memorable moment playing hockey?
Our grand final this year against Sydney! We had our butts kicked in the semi-final and had to play two games in the same day – three games over the weekend. The final ended in an intense shoot out in front of more than 700 spectators. This win was our fourth championship in a row and fifth championship in six years for the Melbourne Ice Women’s team.
What’s it like to play for Australia?
Putting on your country’s jersey is the greatest honour an athlete can have. I love to represent Australia at the highest level and have been lucky enough to do this for the last 10 world championships.
Which has been your favourite international team to play?
I love playing against New Zealand. It’s a battle and there’s never anything left on the ice from either team.
What’s your one piece of advice for kids wanting to take up the sport?
If you want to take up a new sport, ice hockey is the answer! It has so many benefits. Hockey has given me so much in my life already – I’ve seen the world, made life-long friends from all kinds of countries and it has taught me a lot of life skills.
Catch Shona and the rest of the Melbourne Ice Women’s team at tryouts in September and get ready for round one of the AWIHL, set to kick off in late-October.