Iceman and the Top Guns
Last week, Steelkings netminder Bryan Hackworth, travelled to Sweden with a group of other UK sledge hockey players to compete in the annual Malmo Open tournament.
Swapping his familiar blue shirt for a Top Gun themed one, Bryan joined players from each of the other teams in the league, appearing as the UK Top Guns. As the only goalie on the team, Bryan wore the callsign Iceman, in honour of his ice-cool attitude in the crease.
The UK Top Guns faced off against 6 other teams from Germany, Norway and the host country, over a four day tournament. The Malmo Open is an annual para-sport event for club teams. Bryan and the rest of the UK Top Guns formed a temporary team for the week, with Goose (Karl Nicholson from Manchester Phoenix) as captain.
As a friendly tournament, the most important aspect was to have fun, but the team got some critical practice in before they head back to Sweden next month, this time for the IPC World Championships in Ostersund. Facing an impressive 168 shots on goal (more than double the shots of most other goalies there), Bryan was certainly put through his paces.
It was excellent experience playing against the other teams, many of whom play in higher international group than GB and who have the opportunity to train together on a weekly basis. I faced well over 100 shots, which has given me some insight to what I should expect in the World Championships.
This experience also gave me some ideas that I can share with my GB coach and the rest of the team on how we can better prepare our defense. In addition, I received a lot of encouragement from the other teams which as helped with my confidence and determination.
Although the final results weren’t what the team had hoped, it was a fantastic tournament and the players all had a great time – well, possibly except Cougar (Rob Allen from Manchester) who came home with a plaster cast on his broken leg as a souvenir.
It’s always good to see a Steelking player competing in an event like this, but it’s far better to see him back on the ice in Sheffield with the rest of the team. Hopefully we’ll be able to spend the next few weeks helping him get ready for World Championships!