From a desert, from the driest continent, from this land at the opposite end of the globe ...

... as remote as could be in the hockey world ...

... came one of the world’s oldest winter sports trophies.

A cool tradition, a dream of champions, and a story we owe it to our children to tell.

Legends of Australian Ice.

Canberra Knights

1981 - 2014 | Apr 2014

"Let this be the time in Knights history that is spoken of with reverence, when the people decided their team's fate, not one man."
—Angela Bond, Knights Supporter, March 2nd 2014, Canberra AIHL Team Crowdfunding Webpage

We tend to forget that 'Canberra' as a name existed before the city, formed since around 1860 from various local names and spellings with European and indigenous roots such as Canberry, Canbery, Cranberry. In fact, understatement is in the very spirit of the place, exceedingly so, except for certain politicians. It was not the way of King O'Malley, for instance, who played a prominent role in selecting the site of the future national capital. He declared Chicago architect Walter Burley Griffin winner of the town planning competition and drove the first peg to mark the start of city development on 20 February 1913. He was also present at the naming ceremony on 12 March 1913, the day locals now celebrate as Canberra Day. Yes, that's right, the same week that marked the end of the Canberra Knights 101 years later. Only to be reborn under a new name a week or so later.

Now O'Malley was not quite certain of his own birthday, all he knew was that it was either 3 or 4 July 1854, but he chose to celebrate it on the 4 July. He claimed all his life (in public at least) to have been born at the Stanford Farm in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada, which would have made him a British subject, but it is more likely that he was born at his parents' farm in Valley Falls, Kansas, USA. O'Malley himself wrote late in life: "I am an American". Any earlier, of course, and he would have been ineligible to sit in Australian parliaments which were only comprised of naturalised British subjects. Now we ask you, does that sound like the champion of a hockey capital, or what?

O'Malley was indeed educated in NYC and travelled the USA widely, which sits rather well with a contemporary view that his "monstrously overgrown persona seemed to be inhabited simultaneously by a spruiker from Barnum's three-ring circus, a hell-and-tarnation revivalist, and a four-flushing Yankee Congressman". He was the teetotaller responsible for the highly unpopular ban on alcohol in the Australian Capital Territory. Which is why, I am sure, Canberrans named a pub, a play and a whole suburb after the Honourable King O'Malley.

The Griffins left Canberra in 1920 with the framework of their city plan established on the ground, but disappointed at the lack of progress, and frustrated by repeated efforts to change it. Australian Rules football had been there since 1911, but the progress of organised sport from that first patch of very well-planned dirt was slow until soon after Canberra succeeded Melbourne as the national capital in the late 1920s. This was the compromise brought about by the bitter rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney. It is not known whether it is any less bitter with a hapless Canberra caught in the crossfire. But it is known that its men's and women's field hockey clubs, association, and cup competition were founded at that time. District cricket was organised. Australian Rules football was planted in Canberra schools, and other football codes existed but struggled. Cycle and motor cycle clubs formed, the athletic club formed, the Federal Bowling Association formed, the Canberra Tennis Association had pennant and shield competitions, interstate golf was played. O'Malley's law on the prohibition of alcohol was repealed after 18 years. You get the picture.

Then the Prime Minister's XI was started by Robert Menzies in the 1950s. It was revived by Bob Hawke in 1984, and has since been played every year at Manuka Oval. In fact it was in the 1980s that Canberra team sports really went national. The NRL Canberra Raiders formed in 1981, same year as the Canberra Knights ice hockey club. The Canberra Capitals formed in 1984 and has won seven out of the last eleven national women's basketball titles.The AHL Canberra Lakers field hockey team formed in 1991 and the Canberra Strikers won the inaugural AHL women's championship in 1993. The Canberra Cosmos represented Canberra between 1995 and 2001 in the National Soccer League and there are official plans to have a team in the A-league. The ARU Brumbies formed in 1996, won two championships and were runners-up in 4. Canberra United FC founded in 2008 represents the city in the W-League, the national women's association football league. Runners-up in their first season, they were the 2011-12 champions. Not surprisingly, Greater Western Sydney now acts as a local AFL side, playing four home games a year at Manuka Oval, and there are also teams that participate in national competitions in netball, cricket, softball and baseball.

Australian Rules legend Alex Jesaulenko is a Canberra boy who was declared the ACT's Athlete of the Century last year. Former squash international Heather McKay is the ACT's Women's Athlete of the Century. Few know this Canberra girl retired in 1981 as undefeated world champion since 1962. Canberra also produced the highly decorated AFL footballer, James Hird. Miriam Manzano, six-time national champion and nine-time representative at the figure skating world championships. Rugby Union's Jeremy Paul, a former ACT Brumbies and Australian Wallabies hooker. Paralympian swimmer Siobhan Paton who broke more than 100 world records in her class and received a Medal of the Order of Australia. Canberra cricketer Bronwyn Calver who played three Tests, 34 one-day internationals and competed in two World Cups for Australia.

The population of Canberra is less than 375,000, or 1.6 percent of the national total.

1980 Olympic-size ice rink opens at Phillip swimming pool
ACT Ice Hockey Association formed with John Slater as president | 00 |
Slater in the 1948 Australian ice hockey team far right, back row: | AUS |

1981 Canberra Knights formed by a group of former hockey players
Exhibition matches against international and Australian teams | 01 | 02 |

1982 Founding member of NSW Superleague coached by Stuart Wright
Chuck Naish and Jim Fuyarchuk player-coaches | 03 | 04 | TEAM |

1983 NSW Superleague Runners-up to Warringah Bombers | 05 | 06 |

1984 Dean Pollock and Canadian import Bill Rose | 07 | 08 | 09 |

1985 - 91 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 |

1992 16 y-o goalie (Canadian-born to Australian mother), Jason Elliot
AAA U-14 in Canada, moved to Australia in 1990, age 13
(later drafted by NHL Red Wings) | 22 | 23 | profile |

1993 Eight homegrown juniors | 24 |

1994 NSW Superleague reborn as East Coast Superleague (ECSL)

1995 | 25 | 26 | 26 | 27 |

1998 ECSL Champions. Canberra wins first Goodall Cup

2000 Founding member of the Australian Ice Hockey League. Rosters
3-team competition with Sydney Bears and Adelaide Avalanche

2001 Finished 3rd / 3

2002 Finished Fifth / 6 just above Melbourne Ice
6-team competition with addition of Melbourne Ice, Newcastle + West Sydney
Goalie Brad Hunt 4th overall

2003-4 Finished 6th / 6

2005 Finished 5th / 8, and almost made playoffs
8-team competition with addition of Brisbane and Central Coast
Canadian goaltender Dylan Smart
Strongest AIHL Knights season ever, coached by former player Laing Harrow

2006 Finished 8th / 8, losing 25 of 28 regular season games
Record loss to Newcastle, 21-2

2007 Finished 7th / 8
Coach Mike Farrow and Luke Fiveash is primary goalie

2008 Finished 5th / 8

2009-10 Finished 6th / 8

2011 Finished 7th / 9

2012 Finished 8th / 9

2013 Finished 8th / 8

2014 Owner folds team citing financial costs, lack of local players
Players led by Mark Rummukainen act to obtain AIHL license
AIHL set financial viability target at $100k
CBR Brave granted provisional license for 2014 AIHL season.

Sources: Australian newspapers, Wikipedia article

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