It’s been 25-years since Team GB last appeared in the top pool of the IIHF World Championships, but back-to-back promotions have ensured that the British national side will get it’s chance to take on the game’s elite once again this spring.
The task ahead now is significant however.
After being drawn in Group A with Team Canada, Team USA, Finland, Olympic silver medallists Germany, hosts Slovakia, Denmark and France, simply surviving may be the team’s biggest achievement of all.
Head coach Pete Russell has named a 28-man squad for Great Britain’s training camp next month and matches against Italy and Hungary.
The roster will then be cut to 25 for back-to-back games against KHL side Torpedo and this squad will go on to represent GB at the World Championship in Slovakia in May.
Team GB have confirmed that they will face Slovakia in Poprad on May 4th, their final warm-up game before the 2019 IIHF World Championships in Kosice.
The national side previously announced games against Hungary, Italy and KHL teams Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod and Dinamo Riga as part of their preparation for the tournament, with Pete Russell’s side edging out the Latvian side 3-1 in a hard fought game at The Skydome in Coventry on February 6th.
Great Britain are set to return to the top flight of world ice hockey for the first time in 25-years this spring, having secured promotion from Division 1A last year.
Drawn in Group A for the World Championship, Team GB will face Germany, Canada, Denmark, USA, Finland, Slovakia and France during the tournament, starting on May 11th against Olympic silver medallists Germany.
Talking about legitimate Cup contenders is fun.
There are always points of contention regarding how good a team’s goaltending might be, whether an offence can produce enough goals or if it’s smart to pair those two guys together on defence.
Chaos is also fun – it gives us other things to talk about. The silly things that happen in hockey, the things that defy wisdom or the thing that are simply unexpected.
It’s what makes the sport enjoyable; probably even more so than a technical breakdown of a two teams respective powerplay strategies….
Here are six things that could happen over the next six months that could be chaotic, surprising or simply fun:
Great Britain beat KHL side Dinamo Riga 3-1 on a historical night in the Skydome in front of a sold-out arena.
Luke Ferrara and Ben Lake scored on their home ice in Coventry, while Ben O’Connor added an empty-net goal. Netminder Ben Bowns turned away 41 of the 42 shots he faced.
Team GB have announced a 26-man squad for the challenge match against KHL side Dinamo Riga on February 6th at The Skydome, Coventry.
Nottingham Panthers defenceman Tim Billingsley and Coventry Blaze forward Ben Lake have both been selected for the first time, as the national side prepares for the 2019 IIHF World Championships.
Great Britain were previously drawn in Group A for the tournament – along with Team Canada, Team USA, Finland, Germany, hosts Slovakia, Denmark and France – following their promotion from Division 1A last year.
A new year is almost upon us, providing fresh opportunities to confuse friends and loved ones as you move seamlessly between calendar years and hockey years in conversation (bonus points for answering “I have a 2005” or similar when people ask you how old your children are).
It would be remiss of me however to move onto 2019 without first providing the obligatory look back at my personal highlights from the (calendar) year that was 2018: