TEAM GB Director of Coaching Address22nd June 2016 - 00:00
This will be the third time GB have entered teams into a World Junior Championships and we have come a long way since Pisek 2012. In 2012, twenty hardy souls stepped into the unknown and battled all the way at U20. With a twelve year old goalie and a couple of Ďover-agedí vets, many playing on a full sized rink for the first time, we quickly found that this was going to be no easy trip abroad. However, as tough as it was, it was also captivating.
On our return, we set about trying to improve and grow the sport in the UK and by the time Bratislava 2014 came around we had grown to thirty nine players and teams at three age groups. This was extremely adventurous as we tried to juggle our line ups daily with players playing across all three divisions often playing two or three times a day. Even though we lost every game, our tired party came back positive and once again went about spreading the word and growing the game.
This brings us up to date and Sheffield 2016 and we have significantly grown again. We have nearly sixty players with a staff of around twenty who will all be giving their all to help make this program successful. As has become a trait of our teams, every player will compete to the very end and while we may not win, we wonít make it easy.
As we grow the game in our country success canít be measured simply in wins and losses. Across the two previous tournaments, weíve yet to win a game, taking some heavy defeats along the way. But our pride remains intact. Wins have came with our development squads at tournaments in Pilsen (2015) and Nitra (2016) and our Menís team medalled for the first time, winning a pool B bronze in Zug 2015 World Championships. How do we measure success? Eight of the winning Senior Menís team in 2015 represented GB at a World Junior Championships, six of them were in Pisek in the beginning. Added to this, two female players have also progressed from junior to senior teams.
Being successful is all in the perception of success.
Personally, Iím looking forward to the tournament as Iím sure the rest of Team GB are and as the 6th of July draws closer so the excitement mounts. There is no better feeling than being part of a National Team and being at home is extra special. And I canít wait to see our teams take on the best in the world as we strive as individuals and as teams to improve and grow in this great game.
TEAM GB DIRECTOR OF COACHING