Women's ice hockey in Australia

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Women's ice hockey in Australia
Country Australia
National team Australia
Nickname(s) Mighty Jills

In 1940, a study of 314 women in New Zealand and Australia was done. Most of the women in the study were middle class, conservative, Protestant and white. The study found that 183 participated in sport. The twenty-fourth most popular sport that these women participated in was ice hockey, with one woman having played the sport. The sport was tied with baseball and bowls.[1]

In 1983, the Australian Ice Hockey League dealt with the issue of Karen Sommerville trying to compete in a men's ice hockey league by amending the organisation's constitution to prohibit mixed gendered competitions. The organisation cited a need to protect women from harm, and stated that their decision "has nothing to do with sexism or discrimination".[2]

In 1984, 98% of registered Australian ice hockey players were men: Only 2%, 60 total, were female.[3] During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, women's ice hockey saw a large expansion in the number of competitors.[4]

The Australian women's national ice hockey team represents Australia at the International Ice Hockey Federation's IIHF World Women's Championships. The women's national team is controlled by Ice Hockey Australia. As of 2011, Australia has 313 female players.[5] Australia is ranked 29th out of 37 countries in the IIHF World Ranking, as of October 2015.[6]


The Adelaide Glaciarium (also known as Ice Palace Skating Rink) was the first indoor ice skating facility built in Australia. Opened in 1904, this is the birthplace for ice skating in Australia and is the location of the first hockey on the ice match in the country, which was an adaptation of roller polo for the ice using ice skates. Contemporary ice hockey was never played at this venue but this ice skating rink, the country's first, provided the "test bed" facility for its successor the Melbourne Glaciarium, the birthplace of ice hockey in Australia.

In 2000 Australia first competed in the qualification tournament held for the right to participate in the 2001 Division I championships. Australia lost all three of their group matches and finished seventh out of eight after beating South Africa in the seventh place game.[7] The following year Australia again played in the qualification tournament in order to be promoted to Division I for the 2003 championships. Australia finished third in the group of five which saw Slovakia promoted to Division I for 2003.[7]

In 2003 the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) introduced a new format for the World Championships with the inclusion of second and third division. Australia was placed in the third division and gained promotion to the 2004 Division II tournament after winning four of their five games and finishing on top of the standings. The 2004 World Championships saw Australia relegated along with Great Britain from Division II to Division III for the 2005 tournament.[7]

At the 2005 World Championships Australia competed in Division III and narrowly avoided relegation to Division IV after finishing fifth out of six teams, beating only South Africa.[7] The next World Championship in 2007, Australia improved, again gaining promotion to Division II for the next years tournament.[8] Promotion to Division II however was again short as Australia finished last in the 2007 tournament and were relegated back to Division III.[9] Australia ice hockey team has never qualified for an Olympic tournament.

Women's ice hockey today[edit]

The Australian Ice Hockey Federation, currently trading as Ice Hockey Australia (IHA), is the official national governing body of ice hockey in Australia and is a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation. It was first established in 1908, making it one of the oldest national ice hockey associations in the world.

The Australian Women's Ice Hockey League (AWIHL) is an amateur women's ice hockey league in Australia. This league represents the highest level national competition for women's hockey and is currently represented in four states: South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The Joan McKowen Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season.


There are Currently 4 teams in the AWIHL, representing the Australian cities Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney.

Australian Women's Ice Hockey League teams.
Melbourne Ice
Melbourne Ice
Adelaide Adrenaline
Adelaide Adrenaline
Brisbane Goannas
Brisbane Goannas
Sydney Sirens
Sydney Sirens
Teams currently in the AWIHL.
Team City/Area Arena Coordinates Founded Joined Former Name
Australian Women's Ice Hockey League
Melbourne Ice Melbourne, VIC O'Brien Group Arena 37°48′45″S 144°56′08″E / 37.8124°S 144.9356°E / -37.8124; 144.9356 (Melbourne Ice) 2006 Melbourne Dragons (2006-2010)
Adelaide Adrenaline Adelaide, SA Ice Arena (Adelaide) 34°55′11″S 138°34′43″E / 34.919653°S 138.578596°E / -34.919653; 138.578596 (Adelaide Adrenaline) 2006 Adelaide Assassins (2006-2010)
Brisbane Goannas Brisbane, QLD Ice World Boondall 27°20′25″S 153°03′30″E / 27.340352°S 153.05831°E / -27.340352; 153.05831 (Brisbane Goannas) 2006
Sydney Sirens Sydney, NSW Sydney Ice Arena 33°43′56″S 150°57′42″E / 33.732162°S 150.961799°E / -33.732162; 150.961799 (Sydney Sirens) 2006 North Star Sirens (2011-2013)

It is anticipated that the league will grow to five or six teams in the future. It has been speculated that New Zealand may join the league in the upcoming years.[10][11]

1905 – Skaters in fancy dress at the Glaciarium. State Library of South Australia B 62204

Team history[edit]

Adelaide Adrenaline[edit]

Starting their time in the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League as the Adelaide Assassins, the team began by winning the finals championship for the first 5 years in a row. The Assassins were renamed the Adelaide Adrenaline when they became part of the existing club that had a men's team in the national competition, the Australian Ice Hockey League in the 2011–2012 season.

Brisbane Goannas[edit]

Queensland is represented by the Brisbane Goannas in the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League.

Melbourne Ice[edit]

Victoria was originally represented by the Melbourne Dragons in the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League up until 2010 when they were renamed the Melbourne Ice, sharing their name with one of Melbourne's national men's teams in the Australian Ice Hockey League. From 2010, the Melbourne Ice home stadium was the Medibank Icehouse, which was renamed as of September 1, 2015 the O'Brien Group Arena.

Sydney Sirens[edit]

The Sydney Sirens were one of the four founding teams in the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League and represent New South Wales. From 2011 to 2013 the Sydney Sirens were known as the North Star Sirens but reverted to their original name which they presently use.

Formation of Under 18's team[edit]

The Australia women's national under-18 ice hockey team was formed in 2012 in order to qualify and compete in the IIHF World Women's U18 Championships.[12] The team held its first training camp in September 2012 in Adelaide, South Australia and in January 2013 held another training camp in Brisbane, Queensland. Tamra Jones was named as the team's first head coach with Jo Frankenberger as her assistant. Following the two camps, 14 players and one goalie were included on the team roster.[12] The team played their first game on 6 December 2013 against the New Zealand women's national under-18 ice hockey team in Dunedin, New Zealand, tying 2-2.[13] It was part of a four-game series being held in Dunedin between the two teams.[13] Australia went on to lose the remaining three games of the series.[13] In December 2014 Australia hosted the New Zealand women's national under-18 ice hockey team for a five-game series at the Medibank Icehouse in Melbourne.[14] The team won the series three games to two and were awarded the 2014 Trans-Tasman Cup.[14] They also recorded their largest international win in game four, defeating New Zealand 8-1.[14] In August 2015 Australia competed in two games against the Denmark women's national under-18 ice hockey team as part of their 2015 Denmark Tour which also included a training camp that had begun on 25 July.[15] Australia lost the opening game 2-12 with Natalie Ayris and Madison Poole scoring the teams two goals.[15] In the second game of the tour Australia lost 1-9 with Emily Davis-Tope scoring the only goal on the third period buzzer.[16]

In January 2016 the team will debut at the IIHF World Women's U18 Championships, playing in the Division I Qualification tournament in Austria.[17] The tournament will be held Austria in Steindorf and Velden, 7–11 January 2016. Group A includes Austria, Kazakhstan, China and Romania; Group B includes Italy, Poland, Australia and Great Britain.


  1. ^ Stell 1991, p. 75
  2. ^ Stell 1991, p. 255
  3. ^ Department of Sport, Recreation and Tourism; Australian Sport Commission (1985). Australian Sport, a profile. Canberra, Australia: Australian Government Publish Service. p. 178. ISBN 0-644-03667-2. 
  4. ^ Stell 1991, p. 252
  5. ^ "Australia". Iihf.com. 1938-02-11. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  6. ^ "Australia". Iihf.com. 1938-02-11. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  7. ^ a b c d Müller, Stephan (2005). International Ice Hockey Encyclopaedia 1904–2005. Germany: Books on Demand. pp. 215–223. ISBN 3-8334-4189-5. 
  8. ^ "2007 IIHF World Womens Championship Div III". International Ice Hockey Federation. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  9. ^ "2008 IIHF World Women's Championship Div. II". International Ice Hockey Federation. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ "The League". Archived from the original on December 1, 2013. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "National U18 Women's Program Media Release" (PDF). Ice Hockey Australia. 2013-02-21. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-03-02. Retrieved 2013-03-02. 
  13. ^ a b c "2013 New Zealand Women's Under 18 Development Team". New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation. 2013-12-12. Archived from the original on 2014-12-25. Retrieved 2014-12-25. 
  14. ^ a b c "Australia U18 Women win the International Series". Ice Hockey News Australia. 2014-12-18. Archived from the original on 2014-12-25. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  15. ^ a b "Australian U18 Women lose opener of 2015 Denmark Tour". Ice Hockey News Australia. 2015-08-02. Archived from the original on 2015-09-26. Retrieved 2015-04-23. 
  16. ^ "Denmark defeats Australian U18 Women in second game of Denmark Tour". Ice Hockey News Australia. 2015-08-03. Archived from the original on 2015-09-26. Retrieved 2015-09-26. 
  17. ^ "Katowice confirmed as host". International Ice Hockey Federation. 2015-09-24. Archived from the original on 2015-09-26. Retrieved 2015-04-23. 


See also[edit]