NHL Expands Street Hockey Program to Australia to Cultivate Future Talent

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Updated: 3:28 AM, Fri September 22, 2023

NHL Expands Street Hockey Program to Australia to Cultivate Future Talent

The National Hockey League is making its way to Australia, bringing with it an expansion of its NHL Street Hockey program. Aimed at children between the ages of 6 and 16, this initiative seeks to introduce a variation of North American street hockey to the youth of Australia.

While Australia may not have a long-standing tradition of ice hockey, the sport has been present in the country for over a century. The Australian Ice Hockey League, comprising 10 teams, has been operating as a semi-professional league, attracting expatriate players and some former professionals. In fact, ice hockey in Australia dates back to 1904 when the Glaciarium Ice Palace in Adelaide hosted the first games of bandy, a precursor to ice hockey.

Despite its status as a non-traditional hockey market, the NHL views Australia as a viable long-term market due to the country’s passion for sports. Mark Black, the NHL’s vice president of international operations, emphasized the rich sporting history and knowledge present in Australia.

To kick off the expansion of the NHL Street Hockey program, the league plans to pilot it in specific schools in Victoria state, particularly in the Melbourne area. The aim is to test the program’s viability and success within these schools in the upcoming year before expanding it nationwide by mid-2024.

The NHL’s efforts in Australia could potentially bolster the development of home-grown talent in the sport. The league hopes that by introducing street hockey in schools, it will create a player pool for Australian teams in international competitions and increase the number of Australian players in the NHL.

The upcoming preseason games between the Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes in Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena serve as a significant step in the NHL’s endeavors Down Under. Mark Black states that the NHL aims to leave a lasting impact beyond the duration of their time in the market, viewing their involvement in Australia as a long-term commitment.

With its expansion of the NHL Street Hockey program to Australia, the National Hockey League expects to cultivate future talent and contribute to the growth of ice hockey in this non-traditional market. By providing children the opportunity to engage with the sport through street hockey, the NHL hopes to ignite passion and create a lasting impact that will benefit Australian ice hockey for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What is the NHL Street Hockey program?

The NHL Street Hockey program is designed for children aged 6 to 16 and teaches them the principles and skills of hockey through street hockey, a variation of the sport played on streets or other paved surfaces.

Why is the NHL expanding the Street Hockey program to Australia?

The NHL is expanding the Street Hockey program to Australia to foster talent and grow the game of hockey in the country. Australia's historical ties to hockey and its passionate sports culture make it an appealing long-term market for the NHL.

How will the NHL launch the Street Hockey program in Australia?

The NHL plans to pilot the Street Hockey program within a selection of interested local schools in Victoria state, with a specific focus on the Melbourne area. The goal is to expand the program nationwide by mid-2024.

Does Australia have a history of ice hockey?

Yes, ice hockey has been played in Australia for 120 years. The establishment of the Glaciarium Ice Palace in Adelaide served as a key milestone in the sport's history, and the semi-professional Australian Ice Hockey League currently exists, consisting of ten teams.

Have Australian players made an impact in the NHL before?

Yes, there have been notable players of Australian heritage who have made their mark in the NHL. For example, Jordan Spence, born in Sydney and raised in Canada, recently made his NHL debut with the Los Angeles Kings. Nathan Walker, originally from Wales but raised in Sydney, became the first player of Australian nationality to be drafted by an NHL team in 2014.

What is the goal of expanding the Street Hockey program and having preseason games in Australia?

The goal is to unearth and nurture home-grown talent in Australia, creating a player pool for Australian teams in international competitions. Additionally, the NHL hopes to leave a lasting impact on the growth of ice hockey in the country.

How does the NHL plan to engage with new audiences worldwide?

By expanding the game beyond traditional hockey markets, such as in Australia, the NHL aims to reach new audiences and inspire a new generation of hockey enthusiasts. The Street Hockey program is part of the NHL's commitment to grassroots development and long-term growth.

What impact could the Street Hockey program have on the growth of hockey in Australia?

The Street Hockey program has the potential to cultivate a new generation of hockey enthusiasts and players in Australia. As the program expands nationwide, it could contribute to Australia becoming an unexpected hotbed for future hockey talent, further elevating the international reach and popularity of the NHL.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

Ishan Joshi
Ishan Joshi
Ishan Joshi is an enthusiastic sports writer at The Reportify who keeps you informed about the thrilling world of sports. From match highlights to athlete profiles, Ishan brings you the latest updates and engaging stories from the Sports category. He can be reached at ishan@thereportify.com for any inquiries or further information.

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