27/02/2024

Casey Kubara in action for the CBR Brave in the AIHL. (Photo: Scott Stevenson, Design: Will Cuckson)

Growing up in Wollongong, it was a pair of roller blades and a driveway for Casey Kubara.

After school, the Kubara brothers would strap on their blades and hit the skate park that was situated directly across the road from their primary school. With the inline scene dwindling and at the suggestion of brother Toby, the Kubara boys would make the 79km trek to Liverpool ice rink, and it’s been a rapid rise ever since with Casey becoming a CBR Brave star.

“We went to primary school and there was a skate park across the road,” Kubara said.

“We would always take our roller blades and go skating at the park after school.

“That naturally transitioned into roller hockey we all played growing up in the driveway. There was a rink ten minutes away from our house.

“Eventually inline hockey was a dying sport especially around the Wollongong area.

“Toby, Tyler, myself and Bayley went out one day to Liverpool and have been playing ice hockey ever since.”

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Joining the junior system in Australia playing for both the Sydney Sabres and Lightning, then onto the East Coast Super League for the Reach Rebels.

Kubara would make a move to the United States playing junior hockey for the Atlanta Jr. Knights in the United States Premier Hockey League and the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers in the Eastern Hockey League.

Following success in junior hockey, Kubara would spend four years in the US college system as a NCAA Division 3 player for Nazareth College.

“Going over to America after high school you are on the ice all day every day,” Kubara said.

“You are developing those skills and your hockey IQ, getting bigger stronger and faster.

“It keeps me fit and gets me into shape, it’s a faster and more physical game over there. You learn good habits and you develop those instinctual things, and they naturally translate into the games over here.

“In America I would be a second liner or a shutdown guy that plays good defensively, who tries not to get scored on but can contribute with points.”

Back home Kubara is the leading points scorer for the 2022 Australian Ice Hockey League season with 52 points (25 goals, 27 assists) from 18 games played.

A top line player in the AIHL, getting ice time in the US has helped him become a stronger two-way player in Australia.

“Here playing with Wehebe [Darge] and Mario [Valery-Trabucco] I’m a first line guy and the team relies on our line to put up numbers on the board and contribute offensively,” Kubara said.

“I still try and take care of the defensive zone, and I pride myself on not getting scored on.

“But I have more responsibility up front to score goals and help us win games.

“I consider myself a two-way player. I just try and play on both sides of the puck and do what’s best for the team.”

CBR Brave star Casey Kubara (Photo: Scott Stevenson)

Having represented Australia at U/18, U/20 and senior level previously, Kubara will be on the radar of national team selectors with his form in the AIHL.

Following a recent announcement of a three-game series between Australia and New Zealand at O’Brien Icehouse in November, Kubara will be throwing his hat into the mix.

“Playing on the national team and representing your country is a great honour,” Kubara continued.

“It is something I will definitely put my hand up for, I have played 18s, 20s and once on the men’s team.

“If I am lucky enough to get selected then I will definitely play my hardest and have some fun.”

Finals stalwarts for the past six AIHL seasons, winning the Goodall Cup in 2018, the Brave are primed for another strong finals push after finishing on top of the standings.

It’s the third season in succession that the Brave have finished top of the mountain following the end of regular AIHL season.

“It’s a testament to the guys we have in the locker room and imports we get in,” Kubara said.

“The team and the management do a good job of shaping together and piecing together the puzzle. We always end up where we want to be at the back end of the season.

“We are confident in our ability and what we have to offer. We know what we can do, we just need to show up and do it on the day.”

The lead in into the finals hasn’t been ideal for the Brave, with their last competitive match on August 13 against the Sydney Ice Dogs.

Dispute the lack of AIHL hockey the Brave camp are confident as they get set to head to Melbourne.

The Brave will arrive in Melbourne on Thursday and have a training session that day as they start to shift into finals mode.

“It’s a bit of a weird lead up with only one game against the Ice Dogs,” Kubara continued.

“It has been a bit tough especially with guys that don’t live in Canberra and train in Canberra with us.

“So, we are looking forward to getting down to Melbourne, having a good training session, getting on the same page and showing up on Friday against Newcastle.”

Guaranteed to see a big wave of Brave fans make the trip down from the nation’s capital.

Getting that roaring Brave cave support will be a big boost for the team as they look to bring home their second cup in three seasons.

“I am really excited, and I know they are too,” Kubara said.

“We really do have the best fans in the league and the most passionate.

“It’s always awesome to play in front of them at the Brave cave and we will have a pretty good showing down in Melbourne.

“We hope we can bring another championship back to the city.”

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