Thursday, 16 August 2012

Going Down Under

If there's one thing I enjoy watching, it's hockey. I'm quite certain you know this, but I happen to love a good hockey documentary. To hear a story told from a perspective other than your own gives you a different point-of-view from your own, and that's an excellent way to see things often. I received an email from Jason M. today who wanted to know if I could help get the word out about the documentary he's currently involved with regarding the potential three-peat of the Melbourne Ice, one of Australia's professional ice hockey teams. I had never heard of the Melbourne Ice, but I know they do have hockey programs in Australia and this piqued my interest in the email.

Jason wrote,
Hi mate,

Not sure if you can help us out or not and not trying to get any shameless plug or free advertising, but....we have a doco series that we really would love our North American friends to get word of.

Its a series about Australian Ice Hockey called 'The Ice – Road to 3 peat' and follows a team, 'The Melbourne Ice' on their journey towards winning a third straight championship in the Australian Ice Hockey league. Inspired by the NHL's 24-7 series its an insight into Australian Hockey which is a third tier amateur sport with guys playing like pros. They don't get paid, they have massive road trips to cover and along the way we get to see it all including why guys from North America come here to play hockey!

We're starting to get some good exposure here in Aus but we would really like oversees fans to get a taste – especially with the NHL in off season, its an exciting elixir for hockey faithful.

Anyway mate, hope you can help by putting some info on your blog and of course happy to chat if you would like more info.

Actually, Jason, I'd be happy to help. After all, the only advertising I do is shameless plugs, so it wouldn't be right for me to say no. But let's take a closer look at the phenomenon that the Melbourne Ice are putting together in aiming for their third-straight championship.

The Ice first hit the ice in the Australian Ice Hockey League in 2002, and have become one of Australia's best ice hockey teams. In 2011, they accepted sponsorship from MediBank, and were dubbed the MediBank Melbourne Ice. They also began a women's hockey team that season as the MediBank Melbourne Ice Women take to the ice.

Since 2007, the Ice have never finished lower than third overall in the standings, and have routinely advanced to the semi-finals of the AIHL Playoffs. In 2010, the Ice defeated the Adelaide Adrenaline to win their first Goodall Trophy, and then defeated the Newcastle North Stars in 2011 to defend their title. After finishing first overall in 2011, the Ice became the first team to win both the Newman Reid Cup and Goodall Trophy in the same year! And just to wrap everything up nicely last season, the Melbourne Ice Women captured the Joan McKowen Cup as the top team in the women's circuit! Well done, teams!

So what's the 24/7 thing that the Melbourne Ice are trying to do? Well, as they play into their 10th season, they are giving fans an uncensored look into life as a member of the Ice by following new players and veteran heroes around as the Ice play through this season with thoughts of a three-peat on their minds. You can watch the videos on the The Ice Road to 3Peat website, but I've posted the videos below with a synopsis! Check them out!

This will set the stage for the upcoming videos.

We join the Melbourne Ice at Training camp where the team for 2012 will chosen. We will meet previous heroes, introduce characters we will follow throughout the year and meet the imports who hope to secure a spot on the hottest team in Australia. We set the goals and aspirations for the year through interviews withkey members of the organisation.

We will also learn about the psyche of a player and what drives them to play the game. Setup interviews will tell us about injuries obtained and sacrifices made to play the fastest and toughest game in the world.

Framing of these interviews will be close so we can see the character in the players face.

Episode 1 will set a strong tone for the rest of the series. The action will be intense and intimate and will conclude with the selection of the team as we find out what imports have successfully made the team and who has not.

Games 1 through 7 will be the basis of this episode with a special focus on the enforcers that make up the Melbourne Ice. The players that have the physical presence on the ice and aren't afraid to let everyone know about it. They are tough, determined and have a specific tactical role within a game and sacrifice their body for it.

Through in depth interviews we will explore their role, their personalities on and off the ice and why they love hockey.

Other storylines around victories/losses for these first 5 games will also unfold to include coaches team speeches, strategies and how the team is tracking. These storylines will be weaved throughout each episode.

Episode 2 will instantly show the toughness of the game and prepare viewers for the fast paced action of that will follow in other episodes. We will look to close out this episode with the link to the guys that love the enforcers the most – the scorers.

EPISODE THREE PREVIEW: The Captain and the Scorers
Games 8 through 14 will be the basis of this episode with a special focus on the teams Captain – Vinnie Hughes, as well as the teams superstar scorers in Jason Baclig, Joey Hughes, Matt Armstrong and Tommy Powell.

Vinnie Hughes is an exciting, tough hockey player with personality and charm that will be the core of the episode. Intimate interviews with him and the other players will provide the insight into why they all do it, what they do outside of the game as well as what they want to achieve within the game. It will also be important to capture their opinions on the league, the Melbourne Ice organisation and the fans that follow them.

This episode will push the skill level in the game and capture it close enough that viewers will feel every shot, pass, hit and goal. It will provide the elation of scoring as well as the pressures of a slump and how each players deals with adversity in the game. The episode will conclude with the next scorers and the men they hope to beat every game – the goaltenders.

Not bad so far, right? I actually like this look at hockey from the other side of the planet! There have only been three previews posted thus far on Vimeo, but I anxiously await the next previews. This series looks like it could be a keeper!

Great job, Jason, and thanks for the heads-up on this story. Honestly, I have to say that I enjoyed the look at Australian ice hockey and the AIHL, and this blogger is behind the Melbourne Ice in their quest for a three-peat!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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