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Nigerian born Ice Hockey Player Akim Aliu and South African Dalene Rhode are www.sports24ghana.com athletes of the week.

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Athletes of the week

Akim Aliu

A challenging experience for the Nigerian born Ice Hockey Player Akim Aliu keeps him fighting for his 3rd NHL Season appearance.

Having played with Calgary Flames for 2 NHL seasons in 2012 and 2013 with 4 goal contributions in 7 appearances, Akim Aliu believes he has more to offer should he be given another chance to play in the NHL.

Akim Aliu was born in Nigeria but started his Ice Hockey career in Toronto, Canada. He started his Ice Hockey career as early as 2004 and by 2007 was ranked 56th in the NHL Draft. His Ice Hockey career has been spread across 5 countries (USA, Sweden, Slovakia, Russia and Czech Republic). During his 127 appearances in his career so far, he has scored 44 goals and assisted 51 goals. One of his memorable goals was against Jokerit in the European Trophy Final in 2011 where he scored the winner helping Salzburg emerge champions over Jokerit by 3 goals to 2.

The presence of racial abuse on and off the hockey rink has had an impact on his career which he is not happy about but Akim Aliu’s statistics show that, indeed he has more to prove in the NHL.

Dalene Rhode

Dalene Rhode; No words can express how much she loves the Sport (Ice Hockey). Is she going to be the inspiration to other young women to fall in love with Ice Hockey too?

The 26 year old Ice Hockey player began playing Ice Hockey as early as 5 years old. Her growing love for the sport gave her the opportunity to represent her country in 2010 at Rosario, Argentina at the age of 16. In this competition, she scored twice and assisted once in 4 appearances.

Over the years, she has represented South Africa in over 8 tournaments, helping the team place 3rd in 2019 at the Women’s Ice Hockey World Championships played in South Africa. She was South Africa’s highest goal scorer with 7 goals and the 2nd highest goal scorer in the competition. She was also the highest goal scorer for South Africa with 5 goals in 2020 at the Women’s Ice Hockey World Championships in Bulgaria where South Africa became champions.

Club wise, she has won the European Women’s Hockey League in Italy with EV Bozen Eagles in 2016.

The forward’s statistics show that she averages about a goal or an assist a game and this is key to progressing with her club and national team to higher levels.

By Jacob Ashong-Mettle

www.sports24ghana.com