A Steelking at World Championships!
By the time you read this article, Steelkings netminder Bryan Hackworth will have arrived in Ostersund with his GB teammates to compete in their most important sledge hockey tournament of the year.
Along with teams from host nation Sweden, Poland, South Korea, Slovakia and Austria, the Great Britain boys will be competing in the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships (B Pool). A bit of a mouthful, we know, but essentially this is the first step for the teams towards qualifying for the 2018 Winter Paralympics.
Bryan is one of two netminders with the team (the other being Rob Gaze from the Peterborough Phantoms) and he already has plenty of international experience, including being a part of the bronze medal winning team from the Pool B World Championships in 2013.
Steelkings chairman Kim believes the team will benefit from having one of their players in the GB team.
While World Championships is an amazing opportunity for the players going, we also know that we will be able to take advantage of it ourselves. Bryan is an integral part of our team and playing in Sweden will improve his already great performance, which is something that can only help the Steelkings in our inaugural season. When he comes back – hopefully with a medal around his neck – we’re expecting him to pass on his advice and experience to the rest of us.
We’re all extremely proud of Bryan for being selected to the GB team, and we’ll be cheering them all on from back home.
Great Britain are playing five games in the tournament, which is a round robin format. Teams are awarded points for winning and are ranked in point order. The two teams who finish at the top are promoted to Pool A for the 2017 World Championships. The team who finishes last is relegated to the newly formed Pool C.
Our first game is against Slovakia on Monday 16th March at 6pm GMT. Followed by Austria (Tuesday 17th), Sweden (Wednesday 18th), South Korea (Friday 20th) and ending with Poland (Saturday 21st). You can watch all of the games live online for free at LiveArena.com. Visit the official tournament website for full information: http://paralympic.org/ostersund-2015
We’ll be updating the Steelkings twitter account with news from Ostersund each day. You can tweet your good luck messages to the team using the hashtag #SledgeHockeyGB, or comment on this post!