Beaver wins Australian women’s hockey championship
Former Carleton Raven women’s hockey player Erin Beaver was part of a championship women’s hockey team this past season, but not in a place you would expect.
Playing in her first season as an import defenceman in the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League (AWIHL) with the Sydney Sirens, her team took home the national championship on March 12 with a 4-3 shoutout victory over the Brisbane Goannas.
Beaver, who earned a degree in communications at Carleton, spent last season playing in Europe before heading for Australia.
“I had been doing some research into playing somewhere else in the world and one of my old coaches from before I played at Carleton has been to Australia a few times to help with the promotion of hockey and they have a Canada versus U.S. game where some former NHLers come and that’s how he’s been over here,” Beaver said.
Beaver was then connected with current Sirens captain Amelia Matheson, and she sent videos to the coaching staff.
“They offered me a spot and I couldn’t say no to coming to Australia and playing hockey,” Beaver said.
She said the game is not at the same level as it is over in North America and because it is a new game, the style of play is quite different.
“It’s more of that Canadian style, with the body checking compared to over here where the girls often start a lot later, with some of the girls transitioning from inline to ice hockey just cause it’s not as popular or as funded,” she said. “So, it’s much more of a stick handling and speed over here whereas at home it’s more physical.”
Beaver said she believes there is potential for growth in Australia, and cited it as a reason to travel there to play hockey.
“That’s a huge part of why I wanted to come over here, to help develop the game and the skill level,” she said. “My coaches said that they have really seen me be able to help push my teammates to the next level and try and get them to where they need to be to be at a higher level.”
The season in the AWIHL is only 12 games long, as there are only four teams in the league. Over the course of the season, Beaver put up eight goals and four assists. In the championship final, she scored the opening goal of the game, then scored the winner in the shootout to seal the victory.
Beaver said she enjoyed the past season with the Sirens, and is in the process of getting her second visa so she can return to the Sirens next season.
“The hockey community is awesome. Winning a national championship was kind of surreal, especially winning in a shootout,” she said. “I was just happy to contribute and I think that my time at Carleton really got me prepared for that level of compete and the structure of playing competitive hockey.”
– Photo is provided.