Women hone skills at first ice hockey training camp

This article has photo gallery Published on FLTLT Kirstie Winter (author)

Location(s): Newcastle, New South Wales

The Australian Defence Force Ice Hockey Association in Newcastle (photo: Unknown)
The Australian Defence Force Ice Hockey Association in Newcastle

While many people gorged on chocolate during the Easter holidays, 13 women from all three services sweated it out with the Australian Defence Force Ice Hockey Association in Newcastle. 
The inaugural week-long development camp held by the association was aimed at increasing female participation.
Those who attended ranged from those who had never skated or touched the ice before, to players performing at a representational level for both the Australian Defence Force and Australia. 
Ice Hockey is one of the only sports in which males and females participate together on an Australian Defence Force representational team. 
During the development camp, participants spent up to 12 hours a day in training and development. 
This consisted of strength and conditioning, and education and training sessions; two on-ice training sessions; and theoretical development.
Head coach of the association, Major David Johnson, structured the camp with a format that provided valuable training aids and coaching to encourage more women to get involved in the sport. 
Strength and conditioning was provided by Corporal Jason Colquhoun. 
Major Johnson enlisted an internationally renowned Canadian power skating coach, Debbie Strome, to put the women through their paces and get them to focus on the basics and concepts of skating. 
Through her targeted approach, Ms Strome had all the participants skating well beyond expectations within three days. 
One of the participants, Lieutenant Sally Malone, of HMAS Albatross, had made the transition from inline skating to ice hockey.
“Ice hockey is a dynamic technical sport that is a great challenge for all levels,” Lieutenant Malone said.
“The camp – with an experienced coach like Debbie Strome – was an amazing opportunity to improve hockey skills.” 
The association plans to run more training camps to continue to develop the sport, its members’ skills, and to provide opportunities to access high-calibre coaching staff. 
While only 12 months old, the association continues to improve and recruit new members.