The Australian Ice Hockey League

Ice hockey is undoubtedly one of the most popular sports in Australia and is governed by the Australian Ice Hockey Federation (AIHF), which currently trades by the name Ice Hockey Australia (IHA), and is a current member of the renowned International Ice Hockey Federation. The IHA was founded back in 1908, making it one of the oldest ice hockey federations in the world. The primary purpose for the body is to promote, encourage, control and administer all forms of ice hockey in Australia, for the mutual benefit of the members and the sport itself. In addition to this, the association also governs a semi-professional league, that has eight teams representing Perth, Melbourne, Newcastle, Sydney, Adelaide, and Canberra and is known as the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL).

The Australian Ice Hockey League

The AIHL is the top-level ice hockey league in Australia and is governed by IHA, with its own board of governors and directors. The players in the league are all amateurs and are not paid for taking part in the games, but they enjoy other benefits, such as accommodation, and the use of a car during the season. However, the league has attracted players from all over the world, with notably many of them coming from the National Hockey League (NHL). Games in the AIHL are played for shorter durations, as compared to the typical ice hockey games, with two 15 minute periods each, and a 20-minute third period. This is different from the average hockey game, which is divided into three periods of 20 minutes each. However, the league has adopted similar regulations to those of the IIHF and the North American leagues.

AIHF History

The AIHF was formed in 2000, after the collapse of the former ice hockey leagues in Australia. During the first season, only three teams participated in the league, namely the Adelaide Avalanche, the Sydney Bears and the Canberra Knights. During the second season, the teams were increased to six, which brought more competition and popularity to the game in Australia, and around the world. In 2011, the AIHF and the New Zealand Ice Hockey League partnered to form the Trans-Tasman Champions League, which featured two teams from each country. However, after the first tournament which took place in Australia, the championship was cancelled, as the Australian teams were unable to fund their trip to New Zealand for the tournament.

How the Season is Structured

The AIHF seasons runs from mid-April to the last weekend of August, and at times the first weekend of September, with the games being played on Saturdays or Sundays. The teams participating in the season, play each of the other seven teams four times, bringing the total number of all games played by each side during the season, to twenty-eight.

The Points System

The current points system that is used in the AIHF was adapted in 2006 and is similar to the one used in other ice hockey leagues, such as the NHL. Three points are awarded for a win, while the losing team get nothing. In the case of a tie occurring at the end of a game, the teams enter a shootout phase, where two points are awarded to the winner, while the loser gets one point. The shootout replaces the five minutes overtime, which is applied in other ice hockey leagues around the world if the game ends with the score tied.