Starke reality – new CBR Brave coach to inspire a ‘brave style’ of hockey
Monday, January 23, 2017 - Submitted by Geoff Koop
Rob Starke has built a reputation as one of the most respected figures in the AIHL. With a 12-season AIHL career, representative honours and four Goodall Cups under his belt, Starke arrives in the Nation’s Capital full of anticipation. Geoff Koop spoke to the new CBR Brave Head Coach about his plans for the Brave in 2017.
Rob Starke’s appointment as Head Coach is a signal of intent from the CBR Brave that they will not be deterred by last year’s Grand Final loss in their quest to bring the Goodall Cup back to the Capital.
Starke is a four-time Goodall Cup champion, including in 2015 when he captained the Newcastle North Stars to victory. He also represented Australia three times, including the famous 2008 Division 2B winning side that saw the Mighty Roos promoted to Division 1. Speaking upon his appointment to the Head Coach position, Starke expressed his desire to bring the Brave their first championship;
“In terms of Canberra, they fell one game short of winning their first AIHL championship. It would be great if I can help them take that next step and bring a championship to the Capital.”
The Brave were felled in the 2016 AIHL Grand Final by the Newcastle North Stars, and it’s something Starke knows will not only fuel the rivalry between the two clubs but fuel the entire franchise;
“The Brave haven’t faced a whole lot of adversity in not making the playoffs. Certainly they’ve faced some heartbreaking losses in that Finals weekend, and I would think that the organisation and the players would have learnt from that heartbreak.”
Starke also acknowledged the club’s consistent aspiration for success;
“ They (CBR Brave) don’t want to be on that blue line watching someone else hoist that cup, they want to be the ones on top. Those memories, I’m sure, are embedded with the club and I’m sure they’ll be used as firepower going forward.”
Starke is the Brave’s fourth Head Coach and is looking to build on previous successes with a plan to take the club to the next level;
“I want our team to be competitive every night, I want our team to play with an edge every night, and I want to play ‘Brave Hockey’.
“What I mean by ‘Brave Hockey’ is that I want teams to have to adjust to our style of play.”
“We’ll be prepared and well versed in what other teams are doing, but at the end of the day if we can dictate the play, and if we can play what I call ‘Brave Hockey’, then I believe we’ll have success.”
Starke was born and raised in Montreal and hockey is in his blood;
“I played all of my youth and junior hockey in Montreal. Montreal is the ‘Hockey Mecca’ in my mind, certainly in Canada. You’re born and bred on skates.”
Starke spent four seasons playing NCAA College Hockey for Bowdoin College, where he played 97 games for the ‘Polar Bears’. Out of college he attended an NHL training camp with the St. Louis Blues, before spending one season with the Missouri River Otters.
His career would then take him to Europe where he would spend two seasons with HK Vojvodina in Serbia before heading to the Netherlands to spend two seasons with Heerenveen Flyers, with a season at the Verdun Dragons in Quebec thrown in the middle.
After his European adventure Rob found his way to Australia where he ended up with the Newcastle North Stars, settling himself into life in the AIHL where he had an illustrious playing career. He joined the Novacastrian side in the 2004 season and would go on to represent the North Stars in 281 games (including playoffs), scoring 58 goals and assisting 250 times. Starke currently holds records for most career goals, assists and points by a defenceman in the AIHL and his uniform number #4 has been retired by the North Stars.
Starke earned representative honours for the first time in 2008, and would represent his adoptive nation of Australia 15 times, including as Captain of the national team in 2009.
The 2015 AIHL season would be Starke’s last, before taking a year off from hockey to spend time with family.
One thing is for certain however, Starke is ready to take on this next adventure with gusto;
“I’m looking forward to the journey, and I can’t wait to get going.”
The CBR Brave will hit the ice for their first game of the 2017 season in Melbourne against the Mustangs on April 22, with the home opener on Sunday May 7 against Rob’s old family, the Newcastle North Stars.