After what became an unnecessarily difficult selection process for what team to support in the AIHL, Die By The Blade have chosen to back the Sydney Bears. We took into consideration what our fans and readers had to say, as well as the limited interaction we've had with the social media of the team.
So here's what the upcoming AIHL season is looking like, along with the NHL blogs that are covering them -
CBR Brave: Second City Hockey (Chicago Blackhawks)
Melbourne Mustangs: Stanley Cup of Chowder (Boston Bruins)
Newcastle North Stars: Stanley Cup of Chowder (Boston Bruins)
Perth Thunder: Pension Plan Puppets (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Sydney Bears: Die By The Blade (Buffalo Sabres)
The Sydney Bears are a semi-professional ice hockey team based in Penrith, New South Wales, who are members of the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL). They have won two Goodall Cup championships since their founding in 2000, most recently in 2007. The Bears are one of the original three teams that founded the AIHL in 2000, along with the Adelaide Avalanche, and Canberra Knights. The Bears play at the Penrith Ice Palace, having previously played at the Sydney Ice Arena.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
The Bears jersey is strikingly similar to the Sabres goat-head era, using the same color scheme.
Image courtesy of Sydney Bears
The Bears were founded in 1982 and were originally known as the Macquarie Bears. In 2007 the team separated away from its junior club operations and were renamed the AIHL Bears. After the split, the team remained affiliated with the junior club, which kept the name of the Sydney Bears Ice Hockey Club. In 2010 the AIHL Bears were reverted to their old name, Sydney Bears.
In 2002, the Bears defeated the Avalanche in the Goodall Cup final in their second consecutive cup appearance, and first of two championships. Four members of the Bears - Tyler Lovering, Brett Nelson-Bond, Vladimir Rubes and Murray Wand - were named to the Mighty Roos roster for the 2006 Division II World Championships in New Zealand. In 2007 the team announced they would move to Penrith for the 2007 AIHL season at which time, dropping "Sydney" to become The Bears, or AIHL Bears.
Like the Sabres, the Bears haven't made the playoffs in the last five years, but both fanbases have high hopes for the upcoming season!
The time conversion is +14 hours; so a 5:00PM game is 3:00AM EST. With that difference, it'll be tough to watch too many of the Bears games live, even when there is a stream available. We will announce viewing/listening information (when available) and the like in game previews.
The Bears are already off to a successful start to the 2016 season, winning the pre-season Wilson Cup. The beat the Sydney Ice Dogs 2-1, and then followed up by beating Newcastle North Stars 5-3. The two Sydney clubs met again in the final, with the Bears prevailing again, 3-1 this time.
Much more to come in upcoming days as we talk to fans and others in the Bears organization.