Sasky Stewart is deeply involved in the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League.
Sasky Stewart is deeply involved in the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League.

Rocky girl all about ice hockey

SASKY Stewart describes herself as a girly girl.

She’s petite, about 150cm tall, and has a shoe collection that took three large boxes to pack when moving house.

She’s also deeply involved in what is commonly thought of as one of the roughest and manliest sports in the world – ice hockey.

And at just 21, the former Rockhampton girl has already achieved more than a lot of people will in their lifetime.

The self-proclaimed ‘First Lady of Australian Ice Hockey’ is passionate about the sport and wants to help it grow in Australia, particularly for women.

“We’re doing things that are spreading ice hockey in Australia and the profile not only here but overseas and looking at things to promote girls’ participation in hockey both here and in Canada and North America,” Sasky said.

As a commissioner of the Australian Ice Hockey League, Sasky is one of those at the helm of the sport, driving up participation and spectator numbers.

The league is in its 11th season with eight teams from five states and Sasky said they usually managed to pack out their games, which were mostly played on ice rinks that were also used for other activities, like public skating.

“A lot of our venues pack out every weekend, the ice rinks in Melbourne get 800 to 1500 a game, depending on who they are playing,” Sasky said.

She said some rinks, such as the one on the Gold Coast, had a lower capacity, so couldn’t accommodate as many spectators.

Sasky is also heavily involved in the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League and has done two internships overseas, one with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League and one with the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League.

The AIHL is a not-for-profit organisation and, unfortunately for Sasky, “hockey doesn’t pay the bills”.

But she certainly isn’t without career prospects.

After growing up in Rockhampton and graduating from the Rockhampton Grammar School, Sasky moved to Brisbane and got herself a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Queensland.

She recently finished working for Octagon, the world’s largest sporting agency with a client base that includes Formula One driver Mark Webber, rugby union player James O’Connor and footballer Harry Kewell.

About to start a new job next week as the events co-ordinator for the Football Federation of Victoria, Sasky is moving from Sydney to Melbourne.

She also has her own clothing line, Heartbreak Hockey, which she said she started because hockey leagues tended to forget their female fans.

“It’s not really Australian-geared, because we only have 200 women hockey players in the country while Canada has 65,000,” Sasky said of her clothing line.

“It’s mainly aimed (at) North America and Canada.”

Always busy, Sasky has big ideas, and said her dream was to become president of America’s National Hockey League.

“It’s a big dream, not only are there no female presidents of any sporting league not only in North America, but probably in the world,” Sasky said.

Sasky has a tough road ahead of her but said she’d love to work for the NHL in marketing and events management.

Sasky doesn’t get much downtime, but when she does she likes to spend it sewing, reading, writing or watching ice hockey.



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