Britain Back On The Radar
It is not normally on the front page of hockey news but the World Championship Division 1 sent shock waves through the British ice hockey community. Few people would have imagined in that just over a week Team GB would go from medal hopefuls to promotion challengers.
The 5 -2 beating of the hosts the Ukraine followed by a narrow one goal defeat to Kazakhstan meant that those three countries went into the final round of games with a chance of playing in the top division next year against the likes of Canada, USA, Russia and Sweden.
With the Ukraine leading by a goal in the third it was Team GB who looked on course to make the leap up toÂ the top division but ultimately it was the Kazakhs who equalising sending the game to overtime and giving them the point they needed to secure promotion.
GB coach Paul Thompson was disappointed after that result but it was still a great achievementÂ for aÂ team that isÂ assembled every year on a fraction of the budget of the likes of the Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
Surely now is the time for the authorities to sit down and come up with a cohesive national team strategy. It is not going to be easy and would need the full cooperation of the clubs but the aim of getting Great Britain promoted to the World Championship group would be achievable. After all a team can only get so far on its talent. The types of ideas that IHUK should be looking at is getting a training squad together at various points throughout the season, playing against other nations more and making themselves more visible to rally up support and interest. This could all be done on a small budget and with only a little more organisation that happens now.
I can not help but think what would have happened had the GB squad been together for a month before the championship like their Ukrainian counterparts.
But perhaps I am becoming too negative. It was a fantastic effort and one that has lifted the GB team from mid – division 1 team to knocking on the door of the top division.Â It is also worth noting that 6000 people listened to final round games via the BBCiÂ website. If this isn’t the start of something for the GB national team I don’tÂ know what is. So look out because Team GB is back on the world radar… just ask current Ukraine and ex Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings coach Dave Lewis.