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Australian hockey's CBR Brave upset after game for first place canceled due to bus crash

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The Adelaine Adrenaline's bus crashed on the way to Canberra. (ABC News)

When the Australian Ice Hockey League's Canberra Knights rebooted as the player-run CBR Brave, many were inspired by their tale of perseverance, but less inspired by the team they were likely to ice. Part of the reason their owner tried to fold the team was his embarrassment over how bad they were the season prior. It seemed unlikely they'd be much better this time around, especially since they were practically an expansion team now, unretiring players who still lived in the Canberra area to cobble together a full roster.

But with a month to go in the season, the Brave, last seen getting waxed to prove their courage, sit third, just two points out of first place. So naturally, every game matters, and they're unwilling to let any potential points slip away.

Which is why they're unhappy with the AIHL's decision to cancel a game versus the Adelaine Adrenaline and award a point to each team for their troubles.

The reason for the cancellation? Bus crash. On the way to Canberra for a July 19 game, the Adrenaline's bus veered off the road and rolled three times, sending four players, the team's equipment manager, and coach Ryan O'Handley to the hospital. O'Handley suffered serious leg injuries. 

Safe to say the Adrenaline weren't making that night's game, and neither were they making the next night's game with the Sydney Bears. Both were postponed.

The league and teams tried to reschedule the games, but it must have proven too much of a hassle. On Thursday, the AIHL announced that they were cancelled outright, with each team being award a single point.

The Bears are in last place in the league. The single point is probably one more than they would have gotten anyway. The Brave, on the other hand? They're furious. From the Canberra Times:

The Brave believe they should have been awarded three points for a forfeit, but suggested a rule change where the offending team receives one point and innocent party receives two.

“We worked tirelessly with the other clubs involved to find a feasible solution,” Chamberlain said.

“The effect of handing out two points per game instead of three could have a bearing on the outcome of the competition."

Especially when a win means three points, and those two extra points would put the surprising Brave into a tie for first place at the time of this writing.

The Brave are also concerned about the financial impact. According to the team, their games generate about $30,000 in revenue, and for a club that's operating on a shoestring budget, it's a cancellation they can't afford.

s/t to Cory Savidant for the tip.

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