Perth Inferno to heat up ice
A SURGE in ice hockey’s popularity has seen a WA women’s team entered into the national competition for the first time.
Based at Cockburn Ice Arena, the Perth Inferno started their inaugural 12match Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League season with two away game wins against Adelaide on November 10 and 11.
Perth Inferno coach Paul Graham said with 23 talented players, including 13year-old young gun Nikki Sharp and US import Elizabeth Scala, his team had the potential to finish in the top three.
“Having a team in the national competition gives WA players a clear pathway to the national team for the first time,” he said.
“Every sportsperson dreams of representing their country and now WA’s female ice hockey players have an opportunity to do that. It also opens up other opportunities for players that they have not had before.
“For example, 13-yearold Nikki Sharp, who will compete in the AWIHL in December once she turns 14, is aiming to use this opportunity to access a scholarship into the US high school system.”
Forrestfield scrap metal business C.D. Dodd has thrown its support behind both the WA men and women’s ice hockey teams as a major sponsor.
Graham said the support of local businesses was vital to a team like his.
“C.D. Dodd’s support means we can afford luxuries such as a team uniform for travelling,” he said.
“Team members want to be as professional as they can and C.D. Dodd coming on board allows them to do that while also easing their financial burden.”
Perth Inferno’s first home games will be against Sydney on November 24 and 25 at Cockburn Ice Arena. TWO generations of Perth Heat players came together for a good cause at Perth Ballpark on Saturday.
The current Perth Heat roster finished their preseason preparations with a curtain-raiser against the club’s ‘old boys’ in the annual Greg Jelks’ Game.
While the ‘New Heat’ proved too strong for the former players, running out 12-0 winners, the main focus of the night was to raise money for the Greg Jelks Development Fund.
Named after WA baseball legend Jelks, who died in 2017, the fund aims to provide funding for youth, support and training opportunities for the greater baseball community.
Fund founder and Old Heat player Jason Hewitt said the fund was the perfect way to honour the legacy of Jelks, who played more than 250 ABL games for Perth, spent time in the MLB with the Philadelphia Phillies, coached Carine Baseball Club and was an assistant coach for Australia at the Sydney Olympics.
“What better way to honour his legacy and celebrate the life of Greg Jelks, how much he loved baseball and how much he gave back than to start up a fund, which would ultimately benefit the kids he coached for so many years,” he said.
Fellow Old Heat player Simon Eissens said the game continued to be a source of bonding between the current crop of players and the legends of the past.
“The players have always connected, there’s always been a connection between old and new, but this connection is more about the memory of Greg,” he said. “The old people remember the days in the early ’90s when Greg was the premium hitter in the league; this is creating awareness across many generations of baseball.”