Team GB will be back in action in November as they begin their road to Sochi for the Winter Olympics. GB will face Japan, Romania and Korea on the 8th – 11th November at a venue to be announced.
It will be stern task for Tony Hand’s men with only 1 side from the group making the next round of qualification games and with GB losing heavily to Japan in Slovenia last month they do not enter the tournament as favourites.
Although the September start to the EIHL will mean players will have ice time under their belts prior to the tournament it does not leave much preparation time for the GB squad. It seems unlikely there will be a training camp for Team GB before the event with league games for the most effected squads having to be arranged. Although there is no reason why this should be the case.
Whilst qualification for the Olympics in GB’s case is a distant possibility with higher ranked sides entering the competition at the next stage, if Ice Hockey UK is serious about development the national team this is an ideal tournament in which to do it. Team GB will start the tournament playing sides with a similar rank according to the IIHF and with the right amount of preparation do stand a good chance to progress. But getting that preparation is key and that is why a GB training Squad should be announced at the start of the season and should meet up prior to this event. If they do not then the lessons from the World Championships will not be have been learnt and once again the national side will be expected to play against better organised, better prepared and better practiced sides and defy the odds to succeed.
Whilst the location for the mens event is yet to be announced GB’s women will travel to Shanghai on the same weekend for their tournament.
Although the EIHL fixtures have not been announced it is expected that only the most effected teams will be allowed to postpone games.