The Australian Ice Hockey League coincides with the dull NHL offseason, so Second City Hockey is adopting the CBR Brave as its Australian Ice Hockey League team. The Blackhawks coverage on SCH will continue. We will still provide updates on the current postseason run, the draft, free agency and much more this summer. The Hawks, bad puns and dad jokes will always be the focus of SCH.
We are sure you have a few questions about why we're doing this and why we picked this team. Here's the skinny:
Why cover AIHL?
The NHL is not the NFL, which is a good and a bad thing. One good thing about the NFL for its fans is it has made itself a year around sport to follow. The NHL, however, essentially shuts down after a flurry of free agent moves happen in early July before NHL news becomes as sparse as the Edmonton Oilers chance at winning the Stanley Cup. By covering the Brave, we'll have red-hot spicy content to deliver to readers during the summer.
Another reason is brought to you in part by Marcus Kruger: "There's never a bad thing as more hockey."
How did SCH decide on CBR Brave?
A tweet heard around the world.
Josh Unice? Yes, that Josh Unice. The Blackhawks selected Unice with the 86th overall pick in the third round of the 2007 NHL Draft. The same draft some Patrick Kane guy was selected first overall. Unice currently serves as the Brave head coach after he joined them as their starting import goaltender before the 2015 AIHL season after leaving Sheffield Steelers of the EIHL in the United Kingdom.
The Brave's all-time leading scorer is Stephen Blunden, who is the brother of Blackhawks' 2005 second-round draft pick Mike Blunden. Mike, who is currently playing for Tampa Bay, recorded no points and 10 penalty minutes during his brief 10-game stint with Chicago. Stephen has 64 goals and 147 points in total 48 games for the Brave.
Introduction to AIHL
The AIHL is entering its 16th season, expanding from its orginial three teams to its current eight. The league is a semi-professional hockey league and have the same point format as most European leagues. The regular season standings are based on a 3-2-1-0 system, 3 points for a regulation win, 2 for an overtime win, 1 for an overtime loss and none for a regulation loss.
Each team plays the others four times per season, and the playoffs are decided in a four-team single elimination tournament during a weekend at a single venue, think NCAA Frozen Four. The champion is awarded the Goodall Cup, named after John Edwin Goodall. It is the third oldest hockey trophy in the world behind the Stanley Cup and the Allen Cup. The original Goodall Cup sits in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, while a replica cup is used today.
Full team list:
CBR Brave - SCH
Melbourne Mustangs - Boston Bruins' site Stanley Cup of Chowder
Newcastle North Stars - Boston Bruins' site Stanley Cup of Chowder
Perth Thunder - Toronto Maple Leafs' site Pension Plan Puppets
Sydney Bears - Buffalo Sabres' site Die By The Blade
Sydney Ice Dogs
Introduction to CBR Brave
City: Philip, Australian Capital Territory
Arena: Philip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre aka 'Brave Cave'
Name and branding: Brave was selected as it embodies the values of the team, community and fans. The "brave" group of players and fans who joined together to bring together a team to the nation's capital city. As with most Canberra teams, the Brave embraced the ACT colors of navy blue, yellow and white.
History: The Brave were founded in 2014, replacing the Canberra Knights, who were the capital city's team for 33 years. The AIHL thought it was necessary for growth of the league to have a presence in the Capital Territory.
Record: The Brave are 27-5-4-19 with one tie. Last season, the Brave posted a 13-3-2-10 record for a fourth-place finish.
Championships: None. The Brave have made back-to-back playoff appearances, but have not advanced past the semifinal.
Mascots: In its inaugural season, the Brave had Braveheart Tiger, however, last season they debuted their official Brave Bot, which looks like a Transformer character.
Rivalries: The Brave and Adelaide Adrenaline play for the annual Beyond Blue Cup, named after an nonprofit organization that raises awareness and support for people who suffer from anxiety and depression. The Brave won the inaugural Beyond Blue Cup with an 8-2 victory. The closest team to Canberra is the Sydney Ice Dogs (262 km) followed by the Sydney Bears (296 km).
American player: Forward Ryan Johnson is the lone American on the team. The 42-year-old is from Amesbury, Massachusetts.
The time conversion is +15 hours, so a 5 p.m. game is 2 a.m. CT in Chicago. It will be difficult to watch games live even with live streams. The game preview posts will include listening/viewing information when available just like we do for Hawks' previews.
Readers: If you know of anyone who resides in or near Canberra that would like to help out SCH with coverage of CBR Brave and/or think we should pick up another AIHL team to cover let us know in the comments.