Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - Submitted by Andrew McMurtry
The Canberra consortium seeking entry to the AIHL has been granted a provisional licence to participate in the 2014 season, entering the competition as the CBR Brave.
The consortium satisfied the AIHL and its teams that they would be financially viable, able to field a competitive team, have a stable management team and have an agreement to play at Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre.
The provisional sanction is for 2014 season only. As with all new AIHL teams seeking to enter the AIHL competition, the Brave will be required to comply with AIHL by-laws and apply for a full licence to participate in the AIHL after the conclusion of the 2014 season.
CBR Brave team captain, Mark Rummukainen, was obviously pleased by the decision, but realises there is plenty of work still to be done before the AIHL season starts on April 12.
The squad still has to be finalised with four imports, instead of the six allowed to the Canberra Knights before the club folded, as well as the complete rebranding. The previous owner, John Raut, chose to retain the rights in case the Knights make a return in future seasons, according to the Canberra Times.
The AIHL Commission felt that there was a compelling argument for the Canberra team to return to the competition, especially after support from fans around the AIHL, and internationally, donated over $27,000 to the team. Various sponsorships, including a $29,000 grant from the ACT government, were also committed.
Rummukainen spoke to TheAIHL.com earlier today, saying that the crowdfunding effort was incredible and that he was blown away by the support from the hockey community.
“We receive great support week in week out, but wow, for people to dig into their own pockets and pitch in with donations to help us get off the ground is something I didn’t expect, not to this degree,” Rummukainen said. “We’ve received donations from Norway, Russia, Japan, Canada and the USA, to name a few, as well as from all around Australia, including Mustangs players getting together, and huge support from here in Canberra.”
“The catch word last week was overwhelmed, which just about sums it up, to see $27k sitting there to help us kickstart this new venture is simply amazing. The guys have been training like crazy to be ready. We’ll be putting forward a hard working team determined to repay the support which should culminate with some wins on the board.
“To be honest I don’t think this would have happened in the past, but with the far-reaching ability of social media, we’ve all seen quite the frenzy whipped up regarding our efforts and obviously the fantastic efforts of the community. Words cannot express how grateful we are.”
AIHL deputy commissioner Alex Lata said that the CBR Brave had ticked all the boxes and put forward a very impressive proposal in such a short space of time.
“We were very impressed with the quality and professionalism of the CBR Brave proposal, especially in light of the short window in which they had to prepare. The leadership group addressed our key concerns and requirements and we are satisfied that they have what it takes to pull together a successful 2014 season.“
The entry of the CBR Brave means that the AIHL will return to an eight-team competition and the new team will take the place of the Canberra Knights in the draw.