Home' Army News : February 23rd 2017 Contents February 23, 2017
LCPL Ashleigh Brown assumed join-
ing the Army would put an end to her
international ice hockey career.
But now she is about compete at the
world championships – with Army’s
LCpl Brown, of 7CSSB, said she
began her journey towards a women’s
world championships when she was
“Initially I just wanted to have fun
on the rink and enjoy myself,” she said.
“As I grew older I discovered the
opportunity to play at higher levels
would one day be available to me.”
LCpl Brown competed in the 2011
and 2012 Women’s Ice Hockey World
Championships before she joined the
Army as a driver.
When she was posted to Darwin she
was forced to take a break from ice
hockey because of the distance from
the competitions and the cost of flying
It was only in recent years, with a
posting to Brisbane, she decided to pick
up the fast-paced sport again.
Although she wasn’t at the same
level as before her break, her training
with the Army helped keep her fit.
When she started training for ice
hockey again, it did not take her long to
achieve the level of fitness needed and
get her skills up to scratch.
Now the rising star is preparing to
represent her country again.
As one of three Brisbane Goannas
players who made the Australian
national women’s team, she will
compete in the Women’s Ice Hockey
World Championships to be played
in Gangneung, South Korea, from
April 2-9 .
LCpl Brown said the team was
attending training camps and the play-
ers were as prepared as they could be
for the championships.
“The process of returning to ice
hockey was second nature – it’s like rid-
ing a bike,” she said.
“As the goalie, the moment I stop
a puck crossing the line and scoring
against my team is one of the many rea-
sons I love the sport.
“And Army continues to support my
commitment to ice hockey.”
When asked what message she
could give to young athletes who want
to join the ADF, but were worried it
would come at a cost to their sport,
LCpl Brown said just do it.
“If you are dedicated to your sport
you will always find time for it.”
Cpl Mark Doran
A TEAM of veterans hit the water
with a splash to form a unique
dragon boat club based on the
Purple Warriors, an initiative hav-
ing success in UK, where it began,
as well as Canada and the US.
The Purple Warriors Australia
(PWAUS) is a new club solely for
serving and retired ADF personnel
who are wounded, injured or ill.
The ultimate aim is for
Australian veterans is to compete
against Purple Warriors from
other nations, as well as clubs in
Australia, as they use the power of
the sport to inspire recovery and
PWAUS will build on the quali-
ties of discipline, professionalism,
endeavour and personal sacrifice, all
of which define ADF veterans.
PWA board member Gil
Swadling is a former British Royal
Marine and Australian Army officer
who is passionate about the sport of
dragon boat racing.
He said dragon boating was fast,
furious, fun and highly competitive.
“It is the ultimate team sport, but
the best part is the camaraderie,” he
“It’s only early days, but our
plan is to set up PWAUS in Sydney
and Canberra before we expand to
the other states.
“Nearly everyone with PWAUS
are ADF veterans who are all heav-
ily involved in dragon boating and
some have represented the states
and Australia in many regattas.”
The club is also working with
the International Dragon Boat
Federation to create a special crew
category for the 2017 Hong Kong
Dragon Boat Championships to be
held in June, where they will race
against the UK Purple Warriors
before competing in Hawaii against
the US and Canadian Purple
Mr Swadling said serving and
retired ADF personnel who wanted
to train and race would initially
be introduced to local dragon boat
clubs and attend weekly training
“We will then run dragon boat
camps on dates when everyone can
train together in our boats as Purple
Warriors,” he said.
“When there are dragon boat
regattas they will be able to com-
pete as Purple Warrior teams in their
own boats against local teams.
“When a Purple Warrior team
lines up for a race with injuries or
missing limbs, the other teams don’t
even notice, because it’s just about
For more information about Purple Warriors
Australia, visit www.purplewarriors.org.au
or contact Gil Swadling on 0417 413 939 /
(02) 4735 5008 or Ray Bennie on
0412 322 336.
Warriors paddle to aid recovery
Veterans practise dragon boating at the Sydney International Regatta Centre. Front left is former soldier Taryn
Moran and next to her is Ray Bennie, the joint chair of Purple Warriors Australia.
Brown practises her
ice hockey skills
to South Korea
for the Women’s
Ice Hockey World
Inset: LCpl Brown
proudly displays the
green and gold.
Photos: Tim Asher
Soldier’s sights set on global stage
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