IN THEIR INAUGURAL SEASON IN 1999, the Adelaide Avalanche honoured a twenty year-old native of Nanaimo BC in Canada whose enthusiastic and competitive nature as back-up keeper had an immediate effect on the team. Flexible, agile, and difficult to beat one-on-one, he single-handedly won the game against the Knights in Canberra with 27 big saves, then followed it up with a record 37 saves against the Bears in Sydney. In 11 games he continued to improve, finishing on a save percentage of 86%, and only narrowly missing the NSW Super League goaltender of the year award. Opponents scored an average 3.7 goals per game on the Avs defense that season, and he was the Avs first ever Rookie of the Year, sponsored by Mt Thebarton Ice Arena.
Born April 13th 1979, he went on to play 9 seasons with the Avalanche, through to their ultimate demise in 2008 as the A’s, winning back-to-back Goodall Cups in 2000 and 2001. He was the AIHL Best Goaltender of the regular season in 2001 and, at his peak in the AIHL, he was saving almost 90 percent of shots on his goal. He possessed a unique ability to handle the puck and some may recall he scored a memorable goal that first season which instantly made him an Adelaide fan favourite. You may have noticed him when he moved forward with the A's years later, leaving goaltending duties to import, Chris Elf.
He was also the Junior Development Coach in Adelaide back then, touring China in 2000 as assistant coach of the National Youth Team. He continues to coach and mentor young players, most recently at the Elite Bantam National Development Camp in Newcastle in 2016. He played for the Adelaide Tigers in 2011 and was assistant coach of the Adelaide Adrenaline from 2011 to 2014, then interim Head Coach mid-season 2016. Avs player Daniel George recalls Lien once asked the team whether they had the “intestinal fortitude” to go win the the game. “I said yes then went home and googled both words,” says George.
He was also assistant coach of the National Men’s Team at the 2014 and 2015 Division 2A Worlds in Belgrade, Serbia, and Reykjavik, Iceland, respectively. The author of an authoritative article or two on hockey in Australia, he still coaches and plays recreational hockey, advancing his career here towards the end of a second decade.
This text is taken from the Legends of Australia Ice website. For more about Australia's Ice Hockey Legends, click here.