Richard Grieveson has admitted Great Britain U20’s relegation from World Championship (Division 1B) is a massive disappointment, but says the current UK system is letting the players down and not giving them the best possible chance to succeed at international level.
GB’s 3-1 defeat against Ukraine on Saturday sealed their fate, after a week where the team struggled to match their opponents for the majority of the tournament.
“There are a number of things that have conspired against us a wee bit,” Grieveson told Ice Hockey UK Radio.
“You look at Poland and you look at Hungary, the teams that have finished first and second – Hungary completely revamped their junior programme three years ago.
“They’ve got guys in the U18’s playing for the U20’s and playing 85 games a season at a highly competitive level.
“Poland play that U20’s team in a competitive league, while our guys back home are not getting the ice and not getting the opportunities.
“I think as a governing body we need to have a good look at ourselves in terms of how we develop the sport and how we provide these young talented athletes with the best chance to perform and develop.
“I’m proud of every one of them in terms of work ethic, commitment and energy – they have given us their all, but we have fallen short.
“Ten months ago when I took on this job I was brought on board to influence and shape change – this week has just provided me with further evidence of the extent and the nature that we need to do things differently in the UK.
“We’ve got to change how we do things in order to provide these guys with an opportunity to grow. I think as a national governing body we are letting these guys down – we need change.”
(Image permission: Duncan Speirs)