Timmy Newmark has been playing hockey for the past 14 years, a time span which has obviously seen its fair share of highlights and lowlights.
“I don’t really have a best hockey moment because after playing for 14 years I have had so many great moments like my first game, playing for Australia on the U/18 team and the U/20 team, scoring a goal for Australia against Belgium in one of the U/20 tournaments, or making my NCAA Div 3 college hockey team,” said Newmark.
These achievements perhaps surpassed by another notable accolade.
“The most embarrassing memory I had was when I had a weekend up in Waterville Valley, NH, USA and my skate blade broke on Friday and I couldn’t get a replacement ‘til Sunday. I had to play using rental skates on Saturday,” said Newmark.
The Australian hockey scene has recently been dominated by news of Nathan Walker and his drafting by the Washington Capitals. Walker’s feat was underpinned by a long stint away from home in the cut throat environments of European and North American hockey, an unfortunate fact of life for Aussies looking to make their mark on the hockey world.
Newmark’s journey has been similar. The Cremorne, NSW native is currently fighting for a spot at Framingham State University during the Northern Hemisphere winter. Newmark’s experience in the fast paced world of the USA Hockey system has been a tough but ultimately enjoyable and fruitful one.
“I have been in the US for 7 years now. I started playing bantams for my town team when I first moved there, but I broke my leg and missed most of the season. The next 2 seasons I played midgets for the New England Stars, and I played midgets for my town team as well. The next 3 seasons I played juniors, the first with the New England Stars B team in the IJHL, and the next 2 seasons on the Jr. Mariners A team in the NSHL. After that I played my first year of NCAA div 3 college hockey for Framingham State University,” said Newmark.
“I didn’t play much for my first year at Framingham, but hopefully I have 3 more years there where I can start to get a lot more playing time. Another thing I have been doing for about 5 or 6 six years now is attending goalie camps as a shooter for Mike Geragosian. I think all this has dramatically helped my game because it has allowed me to get on the ice about 14-18 hours a week, and has allowed me to face some great hockey players along the way. Since moving overseas I have played with a few guys playing in the AHL, a few guys playing NCAA div 1, a few guys playing professionally around Europe, and a few NHL draft picks. Another part of playing overseas that has helped my game has been the goalie camps because it allows me to work on my shooting, my hands, my moves, my body movement, and reading what a goalie is doing in the net and where I should shoot the puck.”
Newmark’s long stint in the often rough and tumble USA Hockey system has helped shape his perception of both the US and Australian hockey worlds.
“Playing in the AIHL is a little different than playing in the US, because at the level I am playing at now I can see that the skill there is relatively even with all the players. In the AIHL you have a pretty big difference between your imports and some of your bottom Aussie players,” said Newmark. “Another big difference is that the game moves a lot faster in the US because more people finish their hits, and they are playing in a smaller rink. Another difference that I see is that since the sport is so small here, everyone knows everyone and they are more friendly with each other off the ice.”
Newmark gave his opinion on the future of all things AIHL.
“I think the league does need a bit of work in order for it to become better, like better referees, some more commitment from the players and teams, and some more development of the younger Australian players,” said Newmark. “Most of the teams here try to revolve around the imports they bring in and don’t allow the Australians to learn and develop as much as they can. I would love to see better referees who know the game and how it is played and I would love to see more money put into the league to get the interest up from spectators so that the clubs can bring in more money.”
In the world of professional hockey, the cohesion of personalities on a team often contributes to the success of a team just as much as the individual performances on the ice. Newmark counts his experience with the Bears as nothing but positive and a family experience.
“I mean I haven’t played for the other AIHL teams but playing with the Bears is one of my favourite teams to play for because all the guys are really welcoming to others and they are good to get along with,” said Newmark. “Unlike most teams I have played for they accept everyone who shows up and treat them like family, which makes it really easy for everyone to play with each other and have fun.”
With the Bears in hot pursuit of a playoff spot come AIHL Goodall Cup finals weekend the Bears will be counting on Newmark to provide that added experience.
“It’s hard to say how well we will do this year because we have a good team who can win this league, because we beat the number one and two teams the other weekend,” said Newmark.”But with the 9 game slump we were in and the finals fast approaching, we have no room for mistakes.”