By Mikahlia Holmes
The Mighty Jills have swept the IIHF World Championships in Akureyri, Iceland to bring home gold.
Winning all 5 games in the round robin competition, the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey team dominated the tournament and will be promoted next year to Division II Group A.
The Mighty Jills started the tournament against the home team, Iceland with a convincing 6-1 win. The next day Australia met Turkey in what would be their closest game of the tournament, but the Mighty Jills took the 2-1 win.
The Turkish defence was boosted by a familiar face in between the pipes, Sydney Sirens goaltender Sera Dogramaci. Dogramaci saved 39 shots, only allowing Australia two goals from Perth Inferno’s Michelle Clark-Crumpton to sneak past.
“Playing against the Aussies including some of my closest friends was a treat, and only going down 2-1 to them showed how much Team Turkey has stepped up over the years.
The 2020 tournament was sweetened for Dogramaci, as she took out Best Player for Team Turkey.
“This was my final time representing Turkey, and an emotional one at that. Finishing up as Best Player for Team Turkey was pretty special too. I’ll miss being in this environment as an athlete, but my time has come and I’m grateful for the journey I’ve had over the years.”
As Dogramaci retires, something she tells me her body is thanking her for, Australian Goaltender Olivia Last started her World Women’s Championship career with a bang.
With a save percentage of .955 after facing 67 shots in three games, Last finished as Best Goaltender for the 2020 Ice Hockey Women’s World Championships Division II Group B.
The 15-year-old played for the Sydney Sirens in the 2018-19 season and the Australia U18 Women’s teams for the past two years. The young goaltender has spent the most recent season in Finland, playing for RoKi in Liiga (W) and has a promising future ahead.
Last shared the duties between the pipes with Tina Girdler, Sydney Siren’s Goaltender who finished the tournament with a save percentage of .916.
With Girdler now in net, Australia took on Croatia with a 15-0 win followed by a 9-1 win over Ukraine. With these 4 wins, Australia sat at the top of the leader board but would have to win their last game to secure the gold medal and promotion.
The last game was against the New Zealand Ice Ferns, nothing like a Trans-Tasman rivalry to spice up a gold medal game.
New Zealand came out firing and within the first 3 minutes were on the scoreboard. But Australia soon found their feet and came through with a 7-1 win to sweep the tournament and leave Iceland with the gold medal.
The predominantly self-funded players cover associated travel, registration and training camp costs to represent the country on the international stage, but for them it is still one of the greatest honours. For defenseman Remi Harvey the feeling of pulling on the green and gold is second to none.
“Representing your country is just the best feeling. I’ve been lucky enough to do this a few times, but this team is the best bunch of girls I’ve played with at this level.
“We just clicked and had so much fun together, so we worked hard for each other. And it feels even better getting gold on the clean sweep with them!”
Harvey noted the struggle to self-fund representing Australia but is still grateful for the opportunity.
“It’s always hard to self-fund all these tournaments, camps and seasons not to mention funding our own hockey gear and standard trainings, I envy other sports and countries where these things are covered at this level but I work hard to raise money so that I can represent Australia even though I wish I didn’t have to, I do it so I can have these amazing experiences.
A fundraiser has been set up to help assist the team in covering the costs associated with playing for the National team. Donate or find out more.