GB Relagated with Lessions Learnt

Team GB’s stay in the World Championship group may have come to an end but there are reasons to be positive.

For a start when Team GB were languishing in Division 1B and missing on promotion we never thought we would get to the world championships. Just getting into the top group and playing the likes of Canada, USA, Sweden, Finland is a remarkable achievement for our nation. Staying there on merit for 3 seasons is another.

Performances this week were maybe a bit up and down during games but GB held there own well. Goalless periods against USA, Czechia were followed by heavy defeats but that is the price you pay for opening the game up against the top teams. There will be frustrations too. The final period of the Norway game was brilliant but needed to come earlier in that game, the first 30 minutes against Latvia was stella but the last 30 minutes costly and stopped GB getting any points. The Austria game was a complete performance and but for some standout goal tending GB would be celebrating today.

There lays the issues GB need to work on.

One is hard. Goal scoring. This was a problem. GB created chances in every game but lacked that final shot and at this level you can wait for the rebound or a second shot. Kirk, Connelly and Hammond where missing from this years line up and maybe that would help matters.

Second issue is addressing that consistancy in the GB performance. The way to do this is to be playing at that intensity more regularly. All players need to be familiar with the speed and the longevity of the intensity at this level. Making those split decisions at a moment is key to a winning a play. This is harder to address. The CHL helps but we only get a handful of games for a handful of players at that level and lets be honest not all teams take the CHL or EIHL clubs seriously.

The other way to address it is the same old British Ice Hockey problem. EIHL teams have a self interest in not having an international break to allow GB to play a tournament against the likes of Austria, Italy, France, Denmark, Norway, Kazahkstan i.e. the teams around and above GB in the rankings. Yes some players like Kirk and new sensation Codie Neilson would not be available due to playing in North America but this would give others a try. After Neilson was only in the team because of the injuries to others and look how that turned out.

Lets build on what we have learned and make for promotion back next year.

Neil Tucker

Neil has written on ice hockey for many websites concentrating on British ice hockey mostly. Neil also covers ice hockey in other countries and organises his Blueliner Hockey Tour. A graduate of the Manchester Metropolitan University Neil turned his hand to hockey writing in 2009. As well as contributing on Blueliner Hockey Neil has contributed to Get Real Hockey and Slapshot Magasine.

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