Canberra’s ice hockey fans can rest assured knowing work is going on behind the scenes to bring the CBR Brave boys back to the ice.
A ‘Return to Play’ committee has been formed by representatives from each team within the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) to discuss possibilities of a late season or competition.
CBR Brave General Manager Sunny Singh will represent the local team and said he was optimistic about some form of play resuming later in the year.
“It’s in its preliminary stages at the moment but the options being discussed are something like a round robin style competition,” he said.
“I don’t expect there to be a normal looking season but there is some level of optimism for a tournament weekend.
“At the end of the day it’s going to come down to player safety and financial viability. That is what the meetings are for.”
The original season was set to begin in late April and wrap up mid-August.
Singh said the possibility of play would depend on health advice but wouldn’t be likely until the end of September.
Phillip Ice Skating Rink, or the Brave Cave as it’s more commonly known, has been undergoing maintenance during the break which Singh said could be a slight disadvantage to the team.
“There are some elements of training these guys will do, they are all athletes and are keeping reasonably fit,” he said.
“The rink is closed but everywhere else is just starting to open back up so we might have a slight disadvantage going into some kind of tournament.”
Singh said while the team had focused on keeping active on its social media, there was nothing like seeing an average of 1000 spectators cheer on the team in the Brave Cave.
“We have launched a Brave live panel show where we get players to chat to our media personalities and have tried to keep some level of contact going,” he said.
“But if there is one thing this off-season has taught me it’s that there is no replacement for the real thing.”
The ‘Return to Play’ committee will continue to deliberate on the possibility of the competition, but like most other sporting leagues will run without any imports.
“We have a strong local base here anyway,” Singh said.
“They just miss hockey more than anything else.”