BORN APRIL 20TH, 1980 at Concord in Sydney's inner west, she is a winger and centre who began hockey at the Canterbury rink in May 1993 when she was 13. The next year she played for the Canterbury Eagles in the inaugural NSW Women's Ice Hockey League against the Canterbury Falcons and the Warringah Bombers. That same year she represented NSW in the first State Women's Team at the invitational tournament hosted in Queensland from which the Joan McKowen Trophy arose. Between 1994 and 2004, she played for New South Wales in eleven straight nationals, winning the '94 invitational and six McKowen Trophies (1995 to '98, '00, '02). In 1999, she played for the McGill University Varsity Team whilst on an academic scholarship of the university exchange program.
She was a foundation player with the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League in 2005, playing every season with the Sydney Sirens (and North Star Sirens) until 2012, then returning for her last season in 2016 when the Sirens were runners-up. She tore an ACL in a game against the Brisbane Goannas in 2010, but returned in the 2011 AWIHL season. Between 2010 and ’13, she coached the Canterbury Women's Ice Hockey team, winning NSW state championships in 2012 and 2013. Between 2013 and 2015, she was the Sirens' General Manager and Assistant Coach.
"One of the reasons I decided to be General Manager was to turn the team around, market it, make our own brand, our own culture, exclusive from any men's team," she says. "I wanted to help build the best women's program in the country, run by females for females. I think we achieved that. It was good for me doing my MBA part time, because I could use the team as my test case. I stepped away this year, as the structure is now in place, and the team is going from strength to strength".
She debuted with the National Women's Team in 1996 on the Australian All-Star First Line (Right Wing) in the USA Selects Exhibition Game. She represented Australia 8 times ('96, '98, '00, '01, '03, '04, '07, '12), including the historic World Championships Qualification series in 2000 where Australia won the right to participate in the 2001 Women's Worlds. She won IIHF gold medals in 2003 and 2007, bronze in 2012, and in 2010 she was NWT Assistant Coach. "My late father always took me to hockey games and training," she says "sometimes at 6am on a Sunday out at Blacktown when I was a kid, without complaints. Known as 'Papa Rulli', he was at all the games, supporting and critiquing our play. I dedicate this Legends entry to him".
Ross Carpenter, 'Rulli, Melissa (1980 - )', Legends of Australian Ice, Melbourne, Australia, http://icelegendsaustralia.com/legends-2/bio_rulli.html, accessed online .