An ice way to make a living

Australian women's national under-18 ice hockey team member Courtney Poole. Picture: Marcus Whisson
Australian women's national under-18 ice hockey team member Courtney Poole. Picture: Marcus Whisson

Courtney Poole (15) left for Europe last Friday, the youngest player this year in the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey Team.

The team will compete in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships (Division II, Group B) in Spain from March 7 to 13.

Courtney said she loved being on the ice, and hoped to pursue a ice hockey career overseas.

‘I love the speed of it and how we can do so many things on the ice,’ she said.

‘It takes me away from my life and I can just concentrate on what I love. After I finish school, I want to go to America and do some college hockey, get to the Olympics.’

The Year 11 Prendiville Catholic College student got her first taste of ice skating during school holidays when she was about 10.

‘My parents decided to take me public ice skating once ” I really enjoyed it,’ she said.

Her mother Carolyn said Courtney and her sister Madison (14) initially took up a learn to skate program, giving up gymnastics.

Courtney said after learning figure skating, the rink manager suggested she try ice hockey, and in 2009 she was in her first team.

‘Courtney has just gone from strength to strength,’ Carolyn said.

‘We knew at 14 Courtney may be able to do some of these elite things.’

She also plays in the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League (AWIHL), and spends most weekends during the off-season, or summer, over east playing with the Brisbane Goannas.

Courtney won the AWIHL Nellie Gee Rookie of the Year award for 2014-15. Since 2012, she has been playing with the Northern Ice Hockey Association based at Xtreme Ice Arena in Mirrabooka.

The Australian women’s team will play Spain on March 7, Iceland on March 8, Belgium on March 10, Mexico on March 12 and Slovenia on March 13. Facing high travel costs, the Pooles have set up a fundraising page at www.gofundme.com/courtneypoole.