In 1998, Ross Fisher was a man on a mission to build IceHQ, Melbourne’s newest ice rink. Little did he know how much of an impact it would have on the growth of the game in Australia.
Opening of the rink in July 2018
“Like a lot of stories, it began with the Mighty Ducks,” he shares. Ross’ eldest daughter was a figure skater in her youth and his son had fallen in love with inline hockey. “The sport is so captivating. It’s fast, exciting, and needs a purpose-built facility.” He researched facilities in the area and decided to take it into his own hands to meet the demand of an inline rink. In 2005, an idea dawned on him to turn the inline rink into an ice rink. It took several years to get some real traction and support for his idea, yet on July 1st, 2018, the ice rink opened to the public. The rink now has its own hockey school, 8 exciting development programs, the Melbourne Ducks team, and a Junior Development squad, Junior Ducks. It is also home to the biggest recreational hockey league in Australia. In May of 2023, four of his adult recreational hockey teams will travela to Richmond, British Columbia to play in the CARHA Hockey World Cup. Part of planning to build the ice rink and to grow the game in Australia is seeking opportunities to bring players to tournaments around the world. In the past, Ross has arranged trips for players to compete in tournaments in Surrey, San Jose, and even Hawaii. The CARHA Hockey World Cup has been on his radar for a few years now as he stumbled across the opportunity some time before the pandemic. After the most recent rescheduling to March of 2023, four teams locked in a spot and a total of 68 people will be traveling to Canada to take part in the largest international adult recreational hockey tournament. “The concept behind the event being once every four years means the opportunity to participate is rare. It is a truly revered tournament." Ross and his party are excited about the entire experience. They have arranged several activities beyond competition to see the area and to make the most of this trip. Bringing the players to an NHL game is on the top of their list. On March 21st, 2023, the Vegas Golden Knights will be hosted by the Vancouver Canucks and as Ross quotes, “Section 118 won’t know what hit them when we show up!” The CHWC is an opportunity for people all over the world to come together and share their love of the game. “So many different countries turn up to compete and it becomes a play-hockey party.” Ross claims that the tournament really suits the Australian way of doing things: “We’re all for the party and playing some good hockey.”