Browse Tag: CBR Brave

Kelly Geoffrey fits right into CBR Brave life

Despite a three-year layoff from ice hockey after taking a puck to the face, 25 year-old CBR Brave Canadian import Kelly Geoffrey is playing like he never left the sport, and adjusting well to the Australian Ice Hockey League.

Geoffrey has proven himself to be an asset for the Brave already, the left winger has already racked up 12 points this season, averaging two points a game. He has also scored in all six of his appearances for the side thus far.

Geoffrey decided to come down to Canberra and play for the CBR Brave after speaking to coach Brad Hunt, and stayed after having positive experiences with management.

“I came to Canberra because I really hit it off with coach Brad (Hunt) through Skype and emailing back and forth, that sort of thing,” he said.

“He told me it (Canberra) was a great place and that the team and management would treat me well.

“So far they have done that and that’s why I’ve stayed, they’ve treated me really well the coaches and players and it’s been great.

“It’s hard not to stay here the place has been great so far, it’s definitely different but it’s a lot of fun, the team that I’m in has a lot of great guys and a lot good players and it’s been real easy to fit in.

“So far we have had some success, I know we can get better but so far it’s been great.

“I’m just taking it a game at a time, I’ve had a great time here and the fans are definitely the best in our barn so it’s been amazing”.

Despite travelling the globe to be here in Australia, the style of play in the AIHL remains similar to how Geoffrey played back home.

“It’s definitely similar, there are little differences but overall it’s still a rough and tough hockey league,” he said.

“That’s what I’m used to, a lot of hitting and that sort of thing and I think the game out here has a lot of intensity”.

The biggest difference of the AIHL for Geoffrey came as a result of the rink.

“Playing in a rink without glass is definitely really weird,” he said.

“I’ve never played in a rink without any glass in it in my life before this, it’s been weird adjusting to that.

“Other than that, I’ve played in small rinks before and it always brings in a nice crowd and good game and with the crowd we have this rink is definitely the best to play in”.

Geoffrey has shown impressive form so far, and is proving himself to be a key player for the CBR Brave this season.

The Brave host the Adelaide Adrenaline this Saturday for a second time, their first match ended 5-3 in favour of the Brave.

Puck drops at the Phillips Swimming and Ice Skating Centre in Canberra at 5:30pm AEST.

Canberra’s future bright in the hands of the Junior Brave

The CBR Brave was the Cinderella story of the Australian Ice Hockey League in their debut season in 2014, and the Junior Brave have taken that position this season.

Formed earlier this year through a series of tryouts and invites, the Junior Brave have been in impressive form sine their entry into the New South Wales Midget League, which is an under 18s competition consisting of six teams.

The Junior Brave consists of players aged between 15 and 18, with some of the boys having played ice hockey together for up to ten years.

The self-funded side plays their away games in NSW, hiring a 22-to-24 seater bus which consists of the players, head coach Andrew Brunt, manager Tanya Brunt, assistant coach Nick Sault and equipment manager Darryl Day who also drives the bus.

Due to Canberra’s smaller population in comparison to cities and towns within New South Wales, the team consists of players of all skill levels.

However, despite not having the biggest talent pool to choose from, the Junior Brave have found themselves in second place on the Midget League standings, just one point from the top.

On top that, three of the Junior Brave make up the top ten scorers of the Midget League so far, with captain Jordon Brunt, Corey Banks and Jayden Lewis all making their way into the rankings.

Manager Tanya Brunt says that the boys play well together, have become a family and look to stay humble.

“We’ve become a family rather than a team,” she said.

“We like to promote that no one player is above the team, we promote staying humble”.

15 year-old Jordon Brunt captains the Junior Brave, and takes a similar view when it comes to being a leader for his side.

“As captain I try to lead the team both on and off the ice,” he said.

“I just try and be a great role model and lead by example.

“I try and inspire the other players and be a leader”.

(Jordon) Brunt has been playing ice hockey for ten years, and aspires to one day play in the AIHL and for Australia.

“I want to play for the senior Brave when I’m older,” he said.

“Soon I’m trying out for the under 18’s youth team, and I want to make it in the under 20’s and Australian men’s team”.

(Jordon) Brunt isn’t the only one who wants to make it in the AIHL, manager (Tanya) Brunt says that a few of the boys are destined to be in the senior Brave side.

“When we look at our side, we can definitely see some future Brave players” she said.

Head coach Andrew Brunt played for the Australian under 18 division, however he mentions how the side struggled to skate with the more developed hockey nations.

“I actually played for the under 18 Australia side that Jordan (Brunt) is trying out for, and we weren’t the best developed skater on the world stage” he said.

However, when (Andrew) Brunt looks at Australian ice hockey today, he sees a bright future ahead.

“I see Australian ice hockey growing and becoming more competitive on the world stage,” he said.

“What Australian ice hockey have done from about ten years ago, is that they have implemented a junior training camp ranging between pee-wee up to midget.

“They run a camp in January that goes for a week for each age group and they have a professional skating instructor who comes in and does that.

“Since Ice Hockey Australia has implemented these camps we are starting to skate with all the Northern Hemisphere nations.

“I see the future looking really good”.

Brave selfie goes viral

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It was the selfie that went viral throughout the Australian Ice Hockey League, two CBR Brave fans getting up close and personal with star import Stephen Blunden.

Blunden summonsed to the penalty box during the first period would sit in the box with two Brave fans and take the photo snap.

The AIHL is a tight-knit community, it’s what makes the league a special one compared to your more high profile competitions in Australia.

While the two Brave fans who were involved in the photo are passionate loyal followers, should it be something that we are promoting as acceptable?

As the AIHL continues to strive to look and act like a professional league, the image of the fans and Blunden in the penalty box – while entertaining – could have ended badly if the wrong people were involved.

The two fans are well known throughout the Phillips Ice Skating Centre and parts of the AIHL, even described as ‘mascots’, Blunden was obviously comfortable with their presence, so no harm was done.

I wonder if the actions of two honest supporters will be looked on as though a player in the penalty box is free to approach from other fans on game day.

For the majority of circumstances AIHL fans are well behaved and some of the best in the country, but it only takes one person to turn the accessibility to players and coaches into a closed shop.

We see in North America the green men of Vancouver, fans giving lip service to players in the penalty box, a point of difference is players having the safety of perplex glass protection from the crowd.

In the AIHL some rinks don’t give players that luxury.

Players who enter the penalty box are generally not in the ‘selfie’ mood following their on ice indiscretion, even for the fan it’s a risk to make their way into the penalised area.

Fan safety should also be a high priority on game day.

When speaking to AIHL fans and people involved at club level, it was described as “not a good look” and “promoting bad behaviour” something which wouldn’t be limited to just the few I spoke to.

Keeping the community feel and engagement with the players is something the AIHL needs to continue to embrace, fans love it, and fans relate to it.

But we need to make sure players and spectators are protected during the 50 minutes of match time out on the ice.

Better equipped penalty boxes or stewards guarding the area will help keep players safe from eager rink fans.

Fans get the opportunity to take photos, get autographs and chat with their favourite players when clubs allow supporters access post match.

Penalty boxes are a safe haven for players to cool off.

Maybe we should keep the selfies until after the final buzzer.