Wayne Gretzky Ice Hockey Classic
Adelaide Entertainment Centre
24 June 2016
This month Australia is playing host to North America’s finest and most passionate ice hockey players as USA takes on Canada in the highly anticipated 2016 Wayne Gretzky Ice Hockey Classic.
Five high-intensity matches in this internationally recognised tournament are being played across Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.
Between tennis, cricket, football and rugby, there’s no denying that Aussies love their sport. But somewhere in there (perhaps due to our climate), ice hockey sadly gets left a little behind.
The visiting tournament not only aims to showcase top quality ice hockey and promote the high-intensity and exciting sport down under, but the 2016 Classic is also raising awareness and funds for the STOPCONCUSSIONS Foundation in association with Nick Rushworth of Brain Injury Australia.
On June 24th, the tournament dropped into Adelaide (for the first time ever!!!) for Game Three of the series at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, and having spent six months being educated on the exhilarating nature of the sport whilst living in Canada in 2014, there was no way I was going to miss this sensational event.
Donning my red maple leaf toque and mitts (translation: beanie and gloves) I settled down amongst the buzzing crowd consisting of what I can only assume to be every North American expat living in Adelaide plus some.
The game had everything you’d expect from an ice hockey extravaganza. There was a kiss cam, big screen karaoke, dance cam and a T-shirt cannon. During the first period break, the little skaters from our local league came out to have their own mini match. The beers were flowing and the cheering adequately rowdy.
After a US dominated first period and non-scoring second period, both teams kicked it up a notch during the third and final period with multiple goals and a few friendly scuffles. In the end, Team USA came out on top with a final score of 4-2.
Post game, members of the crowd carefully ventured onto the ice where the players of both teams were signing merchandise and taking photos with fans.
It may have been the Classic’s first visit to Adelaide, but judging by the electric atmosphere and promising audience turnout, I certainly hope it won’t be the last!!
– Game 1: Team Canada 8 – 2 Team USA (17 June 2016, Rod Laver Arena)
– Game 2: Team Canada 6 – 5 SO Team USA (18 June 2016, Perth Arena)
– Game 3: Team Canada 2 – 4 Team USA (24 June 2016, Adelaide Entertainment Centre)
– Game 4: Team Canada 4 – 3 SO Team USA (25 June 2016, Qudos Bank Arena)
– Game 5: Team Canada – Team USA (2 July 2016, Brisbane Entertainment Centre)