GB face Croatia opener at World Championship

Great Britain Men will begin next April’s World Championship (Division 1B) tournament in Zagreb with a game against hosts Croatia.

The six-team IIHF tournament, which will run from 17th to 23rd, April 2016,in the Dom Sportova, will also see Pete Russell’s men come up against Estonia, Lithuania, Romania and Ukraine.

GB came close to promotion and the gold medal last season in Netherlands, but claimed silver after a final-day defeat by Lithuania.

Great Britain will face Croatia – who they beat 3-2 in the opening game last time around – on Sunday, 17th April. On the Monday, GB will come up against Estonia and then go head-to-head with Lithuania two days later.

They then face promoted Romania on Friday, 22nd April, and round off the tournament with a game against Ukraine – who were relegated from Division 1A last season – a day later.

Head Coach Russell said: “I’m very excited to be facing the home nation in our first game. Playing in front of a packed arena will be a wonderful experience and something our guys will embrace.

“We implemented some new approaches last year and faced many challenging experiences. We took positive steps forward as individuals and as a team – and got our identity back as a nation who play with heart and desire.

“Players and teams can’t develop if they haven’t experienced it. We can tell them but they have to experience it. We all know what we have to do on and off the ice to move forward.

“We have proved we can compete against quality teams and we came so close last year to promotion. But more importantly we restored our identity and gave our country a team to be proud of.

“I know it’s long way off but preparations are already under way within our management team. Andy Buxton, as always, has got all our preparation dates and travel sorted – he is top notch.

“As a management team we will always strive to provide a no-excuse environment for our players to be able to perform to their maximum levels.”

GB FULL SCHEDULE (face-offs UK time):
Sunday 17th April 2016: Croatia v GB (7pm)
Monday 18th April 2016: GB v Estonia (3:30pm)
Wednesday 20th April 2016: GB v Lithuania (3:30pm)
Friday 22nd April: GB v Romania (12noon)
Saturday 23rd April: Ukraine v GB (12noon)

(Image permission: IceHockeyMedia)

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