|2016 AIHL season|
|City||Phillip, Australian Capital Territory|
|League||Australian Ice Hockey League|
Phillip Ice Skating Centre |
From 2015, known as the 'Brave Cave'
Yellow, Navy Blue and White
Peter Chamberlain |
|General manager||Briege Wilson|
|Head coach||Josh Unice|
|Website||CBR Brave Home|
|Regular season titles||0|
The CBR Brave is a semi-professional ice hockey team based in Phillip, Australian Capital Territory. The team is a member of the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL). The team was founded in 2014 to replace the defunct Canberra Knights in the AIHL. They play their home games out of the Phillip Ice Skating Centre known as The Brave Cave.
On 26 February 2014 Knights owner, John Raut, handed back his AIHL licence and folded the team after 33 years of existence citing financial costs, lack of a local player pool and sustained poor performances for the reason he came to this decision.
Immediately following the collapse of the Knights, a player group led consortium approached the AIHL with a proposal to take over the vacated licence and form a new team in Canberra. The AIHL was open to the idea, stating it was important for the development of the sport in Australia for there to be a Canberra team. The AIHL laid down three stipulations and requirements for the consortium to meet before granting the team entry. Firstly, a signed home venue agreement, secondly, ability to field a competitive team for the upcoming season and lastly, to prove the team would be financially viable. Upon meeting these requirements the league and teams voted to grant the consortium a provisional twelve-month licence to compete in the 2014 AIHL season.
6 March 2014, CBR Brave is born under the guidance of new owners Allinsure director Peter Chamberlain and advertising firm Coordinate’s owner-director Jamie Wilson after the pair got in contact with Mark Rummukainen, head of the player consortium.
2014 Inaugural Season
31 March 2014, CBR Brave announced their first ever import signing with the acquisition of twenty-two-year-old Finnish goaltender Petri Pitkänen from Finnish third division champions KeuPa HT. Petri proved a huge success as the Brave’s number one goaltender in the 2014 season alongside fellow successful imports Anton Kokkonen, Stephen Blunden and Mathieu Ouellette who finished 1, 2 and 3 in the Brave player statistics leader board, which equated to 2, 3 and 4 for the entire league.
12 April 2014, The Brave took to the ice in their maiden AIHL match at home in front of around 1000 fans against the Newcastle North Stars. The visitors won the match 2-0 but the match was described by the media as a major win for the city of Canberra as the CBR Brave did not exist a few weeks prior and it took a community led miracle of sorts to get the new team up off the ground and onto the ice thanks to a successful community and fan led fundraising campaign that raised over $27,000.
26 April 2014, Round 3, In their second match after a bye in round 2, the Brave registered their inaugural victory in the AIHL regular season with a 6-2 victory over the then raining champions Sydney Ice Dogs with a break-out third period domination at home in front of a sold out crowd of 1000 people.
10 August 2014, The Brave secured a top four finish in the AIHL regular season by coming third in the overal rankings, granting them a place in the 2014 AIHL Goodall Cup Finals Series held at Medibank Icehouse in Docklands, Victoria. It is the first time a Canberra team has made the finals series since the AIHL was formed in 2000 and the first time a Canberra team had a shot at securing the Goodall Cup since 1998.
23 August 2014, The Brave hosted their 2014 season presentation night at the Woden Tradies Club where Finnish goaltender Petri Pitkänen took out the inaugural MVP (Most Valuable Player) award, the top prize for the season. In other awards, Mathieu Ouellette was named best two-way player, Stephen Blunden was named best forward and Matt Harvey took out the best defender award. Aaron Clayworth clinched both players’ player and coaches’ award, Anton Kokkonen was named fan’s choice while captain Mark Rummukainen took home the John Lewis Memorial Award. The final award for the night went to young gun Kai Miettinen who was named best u23 player. Petri Pitkänen and Mathieu Ouellette were also shortlisted for league awards, Mathieu missed out on the top honour but Petri was selected as the AIHL Goaltender of 2014.
30 August 2014, The Brave lost their semi-final match to the Melbourne Ice 6-1 in front of 1,500 fans, ending their inaugural season in the process.
30 January 2015, Brave announce the appointment of Brad Hunt as the new head coach for the 2015 AIHL season. Brad was originally going to take on the Assistant Coach role for 2015 after hanging up the skates at the end of the 2014 season but with former head coach Matti Louma leaving the club to take on a development coaching position in Perth, Hunt was promoted to head coach instead.
9 February 2015, 2015 AIHL season draw changes, originally released 4 December 2014, affected the CBR Brave with an additional three games to be played in Canberra for the 2015 season after the Sydney Bears and Sydney Ice Dogs opted to play their home games against the Brave in Canberra instead of Sydney. This resulted in 17 home games for the Brave in 2015 as opposed to the standard 14.
On 31 March 2015, CBR Brave in conjunction with Ice Hockey ACT announced the formation of the Junior Brave to compete in the 2015 NSW Midget League. The team is coached by former AIHL player and Australian representative Andrew Brunt. The Junior Brave are the first Canberra-based team to compete in the NSW Midget League since 2011 when Canberra Phoenix left the league. In their inaugural year, the Junior Brave were runners up, beating the Canterbury Eagles 3-2 in the semi-final and losing the final to defending champions, the Liverpool Saints 3-1. Three of the Junior Brave players made their debut with the CBR Brave in the AIHL - goalie Alexandre Tetrault, and forwards Jayden Lewis and Jordon Brunt. Alexandre Tetrault was also selected to represent Australia in the Under 20 World Championships in Serbia in 2016.
14 July 2015, CBR Brave Chairman Peter Chamberlain confirmed the mutual separation between the team and head coach Brad Hunt with immediate effect. On ice performances during the 2015 AIHL regular season and future planning were cited as the main reasons for the decision. In the same statement the Board confirmed current first choice import goaltender, Josh Unice, would take over as head coach on an interim basis for the remainder of the 2015 AIHL season including finals. Veteran defenceman, Aaron Clayworth, would join Josh in moving from the player roster to the coaching staff by taking over as assistant coach. A committee was established to oversee the selection process of a permanent head coach for the 2016 AIHL season.
16 August 2015, The CBR Brave officially secured fourth place in the AIHL regular season to give the team a birth in the 2015 AIHL Finals and a second shot at the Goodall Cup in as many seasons. This came about as a result of a shootout victory over the top team Newcastle North Stars 6-5 at the Brave Cave, Phillip when Jordan Gavin slotted home in sudden death as well as other results going the Brave’s way.
The following weekend, 22 August 2015, the CBR Brave played their final match of the 2015 AIHL regular season away to the last placed Sydney Ice Dogs at the Phillip Ice Skating Centre, as the Ice Dogs moved their home match to Canberra. With the Brave guaranteed to finish fourth and the Ice Dogs to finish last the match was a dead rubber. Both Stephen Blunden and Kelly Geoffrey finished the match with six points as Blunden fired in 4 goals and 2 assists with Kelly achieving the opposite. Veteran forward, Ryan Johnson, grabbed the buzzer beating final goal in the third period with seventeen seconds to go to send the Brave into the Finals on the back of a 7-2 victory. The win also officially cemented the Brave’s fourth-place finish in the 2015 AIHL season. One place and two points behind their inaugural season’s finish, an amazing finish considering before Josh Unice took over the team was second last and after Unice took over the team won six of seven games.
23 August 2015, the Brave hosted their annual ‘Brave Ball’ gala evening at the Woden Tradies Club at which the 2015 season team awards were handed out. Stephen Blunden headed the awards night with three awards (Bravest of the Brave, Best Forward, Highest Point Scorer) with Jimmy Byers following closely behind with two awards (Emerging Brave, Fans Choice). Rounding out the awards Ryan Johnson won the John Lewis Memorial Award for the most dedicated player of the season on and off the ice, Best Defender went to Kyle Mariani, Mark Rummukainen won the Player’s Player while Kai Miettinen and Peter Taylor shared the Coaches’ Award. At the same event the Brave announced the formation of the CBR Brave Foundation to better connect the team to the local community and charities.
29 August 2015, in front of 1,200 passionate fans, the CBR Brave took on the league premiers, Newcastle North Stars, in game one (semi-final one) of the 2015 AIHL Finals. The Brave controlled the first two periods of the match that produced two shorthanded goals to Kelly Geoffrey and Stephen Blunden before Blunden got his second of the match in the second period to put the Brave up 3-0. The North Stars finally got on the score sheet in the second period on the power play as the Brave continued to get into penalty strife. The third period saw a complete change in the match with Newcastle dominating and league MVP Geordie Wudrick coming out and scoring a hat trick to send the premiers through to the grand final and knock the Brave out of the Finals at the same stage as the season before. Aleksi Toivonen and Stephen Blunden were selected as 2nd and 3rd Stars of the game.
9 March 2016, Josh Unice was named as the permanent 2016 CBR Brave head coach for the 2016 AIHL season. Josh was once again joined by experienced assistant coach Dave Rogina and strength and conditioning trainer Stuart Philps.
12 April 2016, CBR Brave management released the full 2016 AIHL CBR Brave team roster with six imports confirmed. The core group of players from 2015 returned with a few new faces added. The biggest addition to the roster was the 2015 AIHL MVP and former Newcastle North Stars import, Geordie Wudrick. During the 2015 season Wudrick broke multiple AIHL records including most points and most goals in a season on his way to claiming the Goodall Cup. The biggest exclusion from the roster list for 2016 was the loss of fan favourite Matt Harvey.
18 April 2016, Just days out from the first round of the 2016 AIHL season, the CBR Brave announced a new partnership with Canberra’s national baseball team, Canberra Cavalry. The partnership would extend to joint marketing opportunities and member’s benefits including ticketing and merchandise discounts.
23 April 2016, during the pre-game announcements at the CBR Brave’s first match of the 2016 season, the Brave announced they had reached a mutually beneficial partnership with the Australian Defence Force hockey team the Navy Tigersharks. The partnership looks to tap into the large Defence presence in Canberra by providing a platform for promoting ice hockey within the Defence community and assist in development and pathways for emerging talent.
Branding and Design
The name and branding for the new club, CBR Brave, was carefully crafted by advertising agency Coordinate on the appointment by the members of the consortium in an effort to break away from the Knights history and to start afresh. This was also due in part to previous Knights owner, John Raut, retaining the rights to the old club’s name.
The Brave branding has received praise from sections of the media with Chris Meister at Hewitt Sports praising the work behind the new club’s branding describing the CBR Brave branding as ‘the jewel in the AIHL’s branding crown. The new standard in club branding for the league and something every other club should aspire to and try and emulate or risk looking subpar moving into the future.’ Chris pointed out how well the yellow and navy blue contrast together and how sharp and clean the logo looks. Both ingredients for a professional and noticeable look on TV and other mediums of media. Chris also paid special attention to the landmark achievement of the marketing videos put out by The Brave on Vimeo to attract membership and promote the club, stating “it is now the video that all other video’s from AIHL teams will be judged.”
Instead of the traditional use of Canberra in the naming of the team, the consortium opted to adopt CBR based from the 2013 ACT Government project, designed to promote Canberra through the use of the CBR brand. CBR gave the team a unique identity in a crowded Canberra sports market that already has a host of teams that use "Canberra" at the beginning to form part of their names (Canberra Raiders; Canberra Capitals; Canberra Cavalry; Canberra United). "Brave" was selected as it embodied the values of the team, community and fans. This was a brave group of players and fans who came together in the eleventh hour to donate time, money and resources to ensure ice hockey remained in the Nation’s Capital.
The Brave embraced the traditional ACT colours of yellow, navy blue and white that can be seen in use currently on the playing strip, team merchandise, official social media accounts, team website and advertising videos.
CBR Brave have one official and one unofficial mascot. In 2014 there was just one unofficial mascot, the Braveheart Tiger, however the team introduced a new official mascot in 2015, the Brave Bot, which looks like a transformer type mascot that was introduced to the Brave fans for the first time in the opening round of the 2015 AIHL season when the Brave took on the Sydney Bears at the Brave Cave. The Brave Bot led the team out onto the ice to the background track of techno music (SKRILLEX - Bangarang feat. Sirah). At half time there was a mascot dance off performed for the crowd.
CBR Brave has two unofficial supporters groups, CBR Brave Hecklers and The Bravehearts. The Hecklers were founded 2 July 2011 as the Canberra Knights Hecklers but once the Knights folded the Hecklers switched to the Brave. The group is known for being very vocal at Brave home games with relentless heckling of the visiting team to make their trip to the capital a tough experience. The group use the social media platform Facebook to share experiences and keep in touch between matches. The Bravehearts were formed at the same time as the new team and members paint their faces and wear a tartan sash. Both supporter groups have their specific reserved locations at the ice rink on match days.
22 April 2016, Second City Hockey (SCH), the SB Nation Chicago Blackhawks supporters blog, announced they had adopted the CBR Brave as their AIHL team to support in the NHL offseason. SCH will cover the league on their blog and promote the Brave partnership to their membership. This announcement came after fellow SB Nation hockey blogs, Pension Plan Puppets (Toronto Maple Leafs), Stanley Cup of Chowder (Boston Bruins) and Die by the Blade (Buffalo Sabres) held public polls and selected Perth Thunder, Melbourne Mustangs / Newcastle North Stars and Sydney Bears to follow respectively. The Brave were leading the Die by the Blade poll but were withdrawn when selected by Second City Hockey.
CBR Brave train and play home matches in the AIHL at the iconic Phillip Ice Skating Centre that is known as the Brave Cave on match-days. The ice rink has a spectator capacity of around one thousand with both seating and standing room utilised. The players enter and exit the ice rink in amongst the crowd giving the fans a unique opportunity to get close to their sporting idols. Nets are used around the rink to stop ice pucks with no plexi-glass installed. There is a bar located on a mezzanine level to the near end of the rink closest to the entry and exit doors. In the first season, The Brave sold out all home matches at the Brave Cave with fans lined up outside in the Canberra winter cold for up to an hour for entry.
16 August 2014, ACT Sports Minister, Shane Rattenbury, formally rejected a proposal to build a brand new ice rink attached to the new swimming complex planned for the Molonglo Valley in Canberra’s south. Mr Rattenbury’s reasons for his decision came from a feasibility study into the proposal ruling out the investment into a second ice rink for a city due to the population size of Canberra at this time. Instead the minister proposed further review of what can be done to upgrade the current privately owned Phillip Ice Centre facility. Brave co-director, Warren Apps, responded to the news on the ACT Grandstand radio program on 666 ABC Canberra by further expressing the need for new investment due to the demand on the current facility now exceeding its capacity. With the CBR Brave struggling to secure enough training time on the ice at Phillip due to all the other sporting and recreational commitments on the facility.
17 January 2016, the ACT Government released a detailed report into ACT Indoor Sports facilities that again raised the issue of ice sports and the Phillip Ice Skating Centre. The report highlighted the issues of having an old private facility at the end of its lifespan servicing a growing ice sports community and national sports franchise in the national capital. The report suggested a full business case and plan be drawn up at exploring alternative options for building a new multi-purpose facility in the fastest growing areas of Canberra, the Molonglo Valley and Gungahlin, where the lower land values can boost a feasibility case for construction compared to re-building in Phillip. Shane Rattenbury responded to the release of the report by saying a new ice sports facility with duel rinks for competition and practice was in the Government’s longer-term plans but stressed the need community engagement and private sector support. CBR Brave part-owner, Peter Chamberlain, concurred with the recommendations of the report in relation to ice sports.
The CBR Brave developed a friendly rivalry with the Adelaide Adrenaline in the 2015 AIHL season with two fiery matches played with plenty of penalties and player ejections. So in accordance with this newly established rivalry the CBR Brave in conjunction the Adrenaline announced the founding of an annual cup named the Beyond Blue Cup that is contested between the two clubs once a season. The cup is named after the Australian beyondblue non-profit organisation that raises awareness and supports people with depression and anxiety. The Cup is used to help spread the core message of beyondblue: “raising awareness and understanding, empowering people to seek help, and supporting recovery, management and resilience against depression.”
24 May 2015, The Brave lifted the inaugural Beyond Blue Cup with a comprehensive 8-2 victory over Adelaide Adrenaline off the back of a hat-trick to Canadian import Kelly Geoffrey.
Team roster for the 2016 AIHL season
|4||Art Bidlevskii||D||R||25||2016||Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada|
|73||Blunden, StephenStephen Blunden||F/LW||L||27||2014||Gloucester, Ontario, Canada|
|10||Zach Boyle||D||L||20||2016||Adelaide, South Australia, Australia|
|8||Nicola Brandi||LW||R||22||2016||Wetzikon, Hinwil, Switzerland|
|21||Jordan Brunt||F||L||17||2015||Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia|
|22||Byers, HarrisonHarrison Byers||C||R||23||2014||Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada|
|17||Byers, JamesJames Byers||D||R||22||2014||Perth, Western Australia, Australia|
|38||Nickolas Eckhardt||G||L||26||2014||Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia|
|19||Gavin, JordanJordan Gavin (C)||F||R||34||2014||Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia|
|14||Matt Gilpin||F||R||20||2016||Queensland, Australia|
|2||Mathieu Guertin||LW||L||24||2016||Repentigny, Quebec, Canada|
|86||Harvey, MatthewMatthew Harvey||D||R||31||2014||Calgary, Alberta, Canada|
|18||Mitchell Henning||F||R||19||2016||Brisbane, Queensland, Australia|
|3||Ryan Johnson (A)||F||R||42||2014||Amesbury, Massachusetts, United States|
|15||Casey Kubara||RW||R||20||2016||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|16||Kubara, TylerTyler Kubara||F||R||22||2015||Wombarra, New South Wales, Australia|
|77||Tom Letki||F||R||27||2014||Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia|
|28||Matti Louma||RW||R||36||2016||Helsinki, Finland|
|64||Miettinen, KaiKai Miettinen (A)||F||L||20||2014||Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia|
|27||Luke Moore||D||R||21||2016||Belfast, United Kingdom|
|9||Neal Prokop||C||L||26||2016||Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada|
|12||Rummukainen, MarkMark Rummukainen||D||R||34||2014||Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia|
|24||Safar, JanJan Safar||D||R||29||2016||Praha, Czech Republic|
|20||Alexandre Tetreault||G||L||18||2015||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|5||Toivonen, AleksiAleksi Toivonen||G||L||20||2015||Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia|
|88||Wudrick, GeordieGeordie Wudrick||LW||L||26||2016||Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada|
Franchise Scoring Leaders
Current as of 25 April 2016
|Head Coach||Josh Unice|
|Assistant Coach||David Rogina|
|Assistant Coach||Art Bidlevskii|
|Strength and Conditioning Coach||Stuart Philps|
|Equipment Manager||Adrian Miller|
|Bench Official||Darren Sault|
|Bench Official||Kelly Sault|
- After a freak accident in Art’s sixth match for the CBR Brave against the Newcastle North Stars in Newcastle, Art suffered an injury to his voice box that ended his playing career at 25 years of age. After the accident Art become a permanent member of the CBR Brave coaching staff and took up the role of duel Assistant coach alongside the experienced David Rogina.
|1||Mark Rummukainen||12 April 2014||22 April 2016|
|2||Jordan Gavin||23 April 2016||Current|
|1||Matti Louma||12 April 2014||30 August 2014||29||16||1||12||107||95||55.17%|
|2||Brad Hunt||30 January 2015||14 July 2015||21||10||0||11||80||82||47.62%|
|3||Josh Unice*||14 July 2015||29 August 2015||8||6||0||2||47||26||75%|
|4||Josh Unice||9 March 2016||17 August 2016||27||17||0||10||125||111||63%|
|4||Art Bidlevskii*||18 August 2016||28 August 2016||3||1||0||2||9||11||33.3%|
(*) - During 2015, Unice was interim head coach. Unice signed on to be full-time head coach of the CBR Brave on 9 March 2016.
(*) - 17 August 2016, Unice stood down temporarally as head coach of the Brave. Art took over as interim head coach for the final game of the regular season and the finals.
|2014||28||14||1*||2||2||9||106||89||49||3rd||Lost Semi-Final vs. Melbourne Ice, 1-6|
|2015||28||13||-||3||2||10||125||104||47||4th||Lost Semi-Final vs. Newcastle North Stars, 3-4|
|2016||28||15||-||2||2||9||129||117||51||4th|| Won Semi-Final vs. Melbourne Ice, 4-3 |
Lost Final vs. Newcastle North Stars, 1-2
(*) - Despite there being no ties in the AIHL, since the introduction of the shootout in 2006, the Brave and Adrenaline were awarded one point each after their match, on 19 July 2014, was cancelled by the AIHL due to a bus crash involving the travelling Adelaide players and coaching staff on route to Canberra.
TV: Fox Sports ( part of the entire AIHL TV deal with Fox Sports to show one game a round )
Online: Ascension Sports and Host Works
CBR Brave’s broadcast partner is Ascension Sports and Host Works, signed on 11 April 2014 to broadcast every Brave home match live online through the Ascension Sports website.
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- "We've got a new mascot! He's brave, he's bold! He's the #BraveBot!! #AIHL2015". CBR Brave. 2015-04-25. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
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|last1=in Authors list (help)
- Brodie, Will (2014-08-27). "CBR Brave captain Mark Rummukainen excited about Australian Ice Hockey league playoffs". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
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- "Full Report: ACT Indoor Sports Facilities Study" (PDF). ACT Government - Sport and Recreation Services. December 2015. Retrieved 2016-04-21.
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- "CBR Brave vs Adelaide Adrenaline - 02 may 2015". www.theaihl.com. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
- "CBR Brave vs Adelaide Adrenaline - 23 may 2015". www.theaihl.com. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
- Bala, Karl (2015-05-24). "Brave claim Beyondblue Cup over Adrenaline". www.theaihl.com. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
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- "CBR Brave Coaching Staff". www.theaihl.com. Retrieved 2016-04-25.
- Dutton, Chris (2016-07-29). "Canberra Brave boss urges players to use blood and heartbreak as AHL motivation". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 2016-08-07.
- McIlroy, Tom (2014-07-19). "Adelaide Adrenaline team bus crashes forcing Canberra ice hockey game to be cancelled". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 2015-08-24.
- Mooney, Harrison (2014-08-01). "Australian hockey's CBR Brave upset after game for first place canceled due to bus crash". www.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2015-08-24.
- Brodie, Will (2013-04-17). "Ice hockey gets pay TV boost". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2015-04-18.
- Hall, Julian (2014-04-11). "All home CBR Brave games to be streamed live". Hewitt Sports. Retrieved 2015-04-18.
- CBR Brave official web site
- AIHL official web site
- Phillip Swimming & Ice Skating Centre official web site
- CBR Brave Online Streaming Broadcast Partner
- Hewitt Sports CBR Brave News
- Ice Hockey Australia CBR Brave News
- CBR Brave Hecklers Supporters Group Facebook Page
- beyondblue Home