GB becoming perfect hosts

125px-GreatBritainIceHockeyThere’s a lot said and written about the state of GB’s national ice hockey teams but not enough credit has been given to the strides made by Ice Hockey UK in the last two years.

Since April of 2012, Great Britain have hosted four World Championship groups, encompassing Women’s Seniors, Women’s U18, Men’s U20 and U18.

The last three of those have been held at the Dumfries Ice Bowl in Scotland which is fast becoming GB’s new home and has been getting rave reviews from visitors and hockey dignitaries alike.

The Men’s U20 tournament held in December of 2013, marked the 100th anniversary of Ice Hockey UK and as part of the celebration the Stanley Cup was brought over by the keeper of the cup Phillip Pritchard. NHL legend and Hockey Hall of Fame official Jim Gregory was also in attendance and there was a whole host of memorabilia from the history of the game in the UK including GB captain Carl Erhardt’s gold medal and game jersey from the 1936 Olympic Games.

In no small part this was down to the hard work and diligence of General Secretary Andy French, who has helped GB make giant strides in terms of hosting international events.

That ball has been well and truly kept running as 2015 will see Dumfries once more hosting a World Championship group, as the Women’s Senior team make their second appearance in Scotland.

I was lucky enough to be reporting from the Men’s U20 tournament in December and it was a thoroughly well run event, with a few minor hitches dealt with promptly and efficiently.

Everyone I encountered through the tournament was profession, friendly, helpful and a credit to what Ice Hockey UK is trying to achieve.

I tip my hat to them and thank them for bringing international hockey to these shores. Surely it can only be a matter of time before a Men’s Senior World Championship is hosted in the UK.

 

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