Perth In­ferno to heat up ice

Canning Times - - SPORT -­mu­ni­ d488232

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.”

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