Katerina Kostakos


Two Monash students have returned home with silver medals after experiencing success in the Ice Hockey National Women’s Championship in Perth. 

Rebranded this year as the ‘Stephanie (Steph) Boxall Tournament’, Monash students Danielle Butler (Masters of Nursing Practice) and Hope Newman (Medical PhD) made the trek across the Nullarbor to compete against the nation’s best.

Victoria, defending champions in the event, found it more difficult to field a side with the associated finances of travelling across the country. 

But thanks to Monash’s Elite Student Performer Scheme, a Monash grant played a role in getting Danielle and Hope to Perth for the Championship. 

“As with most female sports, finance was a huge barrier. Last year the tournament was here in Melbourne and we had a really strong team because anyone who wanted to play could afford to play because it was here and we had no travel costs,” Danielle explains. 

“But this year with it being in Perth, obviously there was a bit more of a price tag. So we had a lot of girls from the team last year that couldn’t come again this year just because of the cost. 

“We won gold last year, so we had a bit of a title to defend. But we had a very different roster this year, we had a lot of young girls who hadn’t really played in a tournament like this before ever.

“If the roster was just over 20 last year, I think we only had four or five returning girls.” 

With a young side, the Vics outperformed expectations to progress deep in the tournament but were eventually outplayed in the final game. 

“Yeah, we’re really happy to come away with silver. I think we did better than most people thought we were going to do, so that was really good,” Danielle adds. 

“I was definitely one of the more senior girls on the team. I was kind of put in a leadership position just in the sense that some of those girls were so young and hadn’t played at the level before.”

After recording wins over New South Wales and South Australia while narrowly going down to the hosts, experience ultimately proved crucial in the final game as Victoria lost 11-0 to Western Australia. 

“The rest of the tournament was pretty even score-wise, there were no real blowouts,” Hope offers. 

“Then the final, the end score was a bit of a blowout. 

“Western Australia was the home state so their team was not surprisingly the strongest team… Western Australia had essentially their full AWIHL (Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League) team for the tournament so they were definitely firing on all cylinders and they had some really good players, really good goal scorers and they scored a lot of goals.

“It’s funny, you get second place and it’s such a good achievement, but you lose to get second so it’s still a little bit of a disappointment at the time. 

“But it was overall a really good experience.”

Danielle, Hope and a number of other Victorian team members compete in the AWIHL for the Melbourne Ice, so competing together in the Championship was just another opportunity to bond further. 

And for those who wonder how difficult it is to be a competitive athlete and study a Masters of Nursing Practice, Danielle says she finds a way. 

“It’s good, I’m very busy but I do it to myself because I keep signing up for different sports teams and everything else,” she laughs. 

“But I still enjoy it and get everything finished!”

Congrats on a great effort girls!