CBR Brave defender Mark Rummukainen had never felt as sick with nerves as he did being a part of his side’s epic 4-3 overtime grand final win on Sunday 2 September.
“I was so nervous, thankfully Trevor Gurling got to live out the dream and get that cup title,” he said.
“The rush of emotion that came out of everyone after he scored that goal was something I’ll never forget.”
Having represented Canberra at ice hockey’s highest level in Australia for the best part of 20 years, he told Canberra Weekly he knew 2018 would be a special year early on.
“I haven’t ever been part of such a unified group … There isn’t a single guy you wouldn’t want to hang out with, and all of that comes together and shows on the ice.
“I try to be a part of a good leadership group, and try to drive the guys,” he said.
As one of the side’s veterans, Rummukainen plays primarily in defence, but started the year in an arm brace.
“Once the doctor gave me the all clear, the opportunity to play came up again and that was a very happy time for me and a very happy moment.
Rummukainen was an integral part in getting the Brave up after Canberra’s previous AIHL franchise, the Knights, folded in early 2014.
He got a grassroots campaign running with a number of other athletes, and in turn created relationships with Jamie Wilson, Warren Apps and Peter Chamberlain, all of whom collectively established the team.
Rummukainen first became involved in ice hockey here in Canberra as a nine-year-old, and said the growth the sport has experienced in the meantime has been exponential.
“The community and the family aspect is a major difference to anything I’ve been involved with in the past, they’ve got it up and going.
“The growth and the interest in the Brave is spurring on that growth in the juniors; a lot of the kids I coach in juniors come along with their Brave shirts on,” he smiled.