Monday, March 4, 2024

Hamilton officer puts job on ice for world championships

Hamilton Police Assistant Fingerprint Officer, Anjali Mulari, has been selected to represent New Zealand at the upcoming ice hockey world championships in Cape Town, South Africa. 

In December she was named in the New Zealand Women’s Ice Hockey Team – the Ice Fernz – set to travel to the IIHF Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships Div IIB this month.

New Zealand’s world ranking has fluctuated between 24th and 31st over the years.

Anjali started playing inline hockey in Hamilton in 2005 when she was 12 and moved to ice hockey at 16, which meant travelling to Auckland each week for training and games.

She soon made the New Zealand Ice Fernz and competed at her first IIHF World Champs in Iceland in 2011.

She has attended eight world championship tournaments in total. In 2016, she received an award for the Best Player for New Zealand and in 2017 was named Best forward of the IIHF World Championship Div IIB.

Anjali competing against Iceland, in Iceland in 2017.

There are only five skaters and a goalie per team on the ice at once and they rotate with players on the bench every minute or so. It is a high-intensity contact sport with 18-20 players per team. Anjali has always been a forward, alternating between the wing position and centre.

…and scoring against Turkey in 2017.

Anjali took a few years out to start a family with her husband, Setti. They have a three-year-old daughter and one-year-old son at home.

“I love the creativity and pace in ice and inline hockey,” she says. “They are both fast sports that get the adrenaline pumping. 

“Ice hockey has given me the opportunity to travel the world with my best friends all while doing what I love. It’s an incredible honour to be back on the team representing New Zealand.”

Anjali in her hockey uniform (left) and at work with colleague and mentor Prem Singh.

Anjali credits Setti for his support which enables her to continue her training schedule. As ice hockey is a minor sport in New Zealand it is self-funded, meaning each player has to pay $4,500 for the trip to South Africa.

“Setti is taking on all of the responsibilities at home while I train and travel away,” she says.

“I’m also trying to get to the gym as much as possible before we depart for South Africa on 13 February. 

“I’ve just returned from a five-day training camp with the team in Dunedin. It’s tough coming back after two kids but I’m determined to get back to where I was and I’m so thankful for the support I’ve received.”

As if Anjali’s schedule wasn’t already jam-packed, she is currently training to become a Police Fingerprint Officer.

“I am in year two of five. I am based at Hamilton Central Police Station and I absolutely love my job.” 

Anjali started with Police in 2016 as an emergency communicator at the Northern Emergency Comms Centre while completing a postgraduate diploma in Forensic Science.

“An opportunity came up at Midlands Forensic Fingerprint Services while I was on parental leave with my first baby and I was fortunate enough to get the job.

Anjali says she enjoys going to work each day and being a part of such a supportive team. “It’s tough balancing work, study, family and hockey but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said.

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