Joined: 27 Aug 2006
|Posted: Fri May 23, 2008 8:51 am Post subject: Great Britain team announcement...
|Taken from the Great Britain Supporters Club website (www.gbsc.co.uk)...
Ice Hockey UK Media Release
22nd May 2008 – For immediate release
Ice Hockey Olympic and World Championship Groups confirmed
The Great Britain men’s ice hockey team will visit Poland twice during the 2008/09 international season, following the confirmation of the groups for both Olympic qualifying and the World Championships.
The team will begin their quest to qualify for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics in a four team pre qualification tournament from November 6th to 9th. Poland are the highest world ranked team of the four teams (world ranking 21st) and as such have the right to host the event. As well as the hosts, GB (ranked 29th) will also face Japan (22nd) and Romania (27th). The winner of the group will progress to a final qualifying tournament in February.
Following their recent fourth place finish in the recent World Championships in Austria, GB will play in Division 1, Group B of the 2009 World Championships. The tournament will take place in April and will again be held in Poland after the Poles were successful in their bid to host the event.
The six team tournament will see GB again face Poland along with relegated Italy (ranked 14th), Ukraine (17th), Holland (24th) and promoted Romania (27th). The other Division One group will take place in Lithuania and will feature Kazakhstan, Japan, relegated Slovenia, Croatia and promoted Australia.
The Great Britain women’s team will also enter the Olympic qualifying process in a pre qualifying tournament, scheduled for 4th to 7th September. The event will be hosted by Slovenia (16th) and will see GB (23rd) also take on Austria (19th) and Norway (14th). The winners of the group will progress to a final qualifying tournament in November.
The women will travel to Italy for their World Championship group in April where they will face the hosts (15th), Latvia (13th), Denmark (18th), Korea (20th) and Holland (21st).
Ice Hockey UK Chairman, Bob Wilkinson is looking forward to next season’s international exchanges.
“It’s going to be a very exciting international season. It’s been eight years since we took part in Olympic qualifying so we’re really looking forward to being part of it again. Both the men and the women are in very tough groups but the Olympics are something very special and everyone will be very motivated to try to get through to the next round.
“The women had a fantastic World Championships in 2008, bringing home a gold medal and winning promotion to a higher division so it will good for them to see how far they have progressed as a team against much higher rated opposition. The men also did really well out in Austria and I know they will be going all out to try to win a medal this time around.”