The Perth Thunder has become the latest addition to the Australian Ice Hockey League after being granted entry following the League’s AGM this month.
The decision to grant the Perth Thunder non-conditional entry into the AIHL follows their 2010 bid to join the League in which they were approved a provisional license.
Throughout the 2011 season the Perth Thunder have been fulfilling the obligations of their provisional license which included inviting teams to Perth as well as travelling away to test their competitiveness.
The Perth Thunder have played exhibition games against the Melbourne Ice, Adelaide Adrenaline and Newcastle North Stars to show the AIHL that they can bring something new to the League.
General Manager and Coach for the Perth Thunder Stan Scott said the team supplied a solid business plan to the AIHL and showed them the benefits Perth can bring to the League despite the issues involved.
“The AIHL worked closely with us to develop a system that could overcome these issues,” he said.
The logistics and associated costs of travelling to Perth have been a concern for all involved in the decision to include the team in the AIHL.
“You must consider that no matter when Perth actually entered the league, the issues relating to costs, travel and scheduling would always exist for us,” said Scott.
“The tyranny of distance will never change, so while Perth has a good team and solid program, the timing was perfect for all concerned for us to enter the AIHL.”
Aside from the travel, another concern has been that with the inclusion of a ninth team to the League it will extend the season to an unmanageable length.
The AIHL board of commissioners have been considering several ideas to address this issue.
The ‘East verse West’ concept in which two pools of four teams will play each other is one while another is to reduce the number of games each team play one another.
With the inclusion of Perth into the AIHL Scott believes that the board members are committed to making a truly national League which will significantly raise the profile and stature of Australian ice hockey.
“To fans from all AIHL clubs, many who have supported our entry into the AIHL with lots of positive input, we encourage you to look at Perth Thunder as bringing an added dimension to the league,” said Scott.
“We at the Thunder are committed to playing at our very best to entertain you with hard fought, clean and competitive ice hockey.”