This Week: 10th February

All eyes have been on the national team this week as Tony Hand’s men made the trip to Riga. The Latvian capital was hosting the final hurdle to reaching the Olympic games in Sochi. Domestically there were still some big games and stories.

 

Riga or Bust – 66 years was the mantra for the GB team. That is longer than the wait for the Nottingham Panthers to win a league title but the last time Team GB played at an Olympic games was in 1948 despite winning the title in 1936. Somewhat not unexpectedly given the quality of the opposition GB left Riga without a victory losing to Latvia, Kazakhstan and France but nonetheless it was a step in the right direction for the national side.

Along side the tournament in Riga where similar tournaments in Germany and Denmark which saw Slovenia shock everyone and qualify alongside Austria and Latvia for the games in Sochi.

 

Edinburgh Marching On – At one time this season the Edinburgh Capitals looking dead and buried and the playoffs a distant pipe dream. Now however after a 4 point weekend the dream is alive and well. A win in Braehead on Saturday night and a win at home in Forth derby lifts the Capitals onto level points with their weekend rivals just 1 point behind the Dundee Stars and well in the mix to make the playoffs.

A 3 point haul for the Hull Stingrays also leaves them 5 points off the playoffs but still at the foot of the table.

 

Quality Seconds for Steeldogs – With the Steelers not icing due to the internationals the Steeldogs took centre stage in Sheffield with 2 home games. It was a long long night on Saturday though as the dogs shipped 5 goals in the first period on their way to losing 8 – 0 at the hands of the Slough Jets. Sunday night however was a world away as they came out a different side piping league leaders Basigstoke 5 – 4.

 

GB to Host World Championships – During coverage of the Olympic Qualifers in Riga IHUK secretary Andy French hinted that the organisation behind the national team is hoping to bring the World Championships Division 1A back to the UK in either 2014 or 2015 with either Nottingham or Sheffield being the host city. It will be major coup for the sport in the country and will raise the profile of the national team further.

 

Challenge Cup A New – Slipping under the radar this week was the news that the EIHL has unveiled a new Challenge Cup trophy. Similar in decision to soccer’s Premier League trophy the new cup will be presented next month to either Braehead, Nottingham, Sheffield or Belfast.

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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