New Great Britain National Development Head Coach Tony Hand will utilise the country’s top coaches as he bids to implement Ice Hockey UK’s strategy for a more integrated approach to the national set-up.
Plans for GB’s new U12 and U14 teams are gathering pace, with the next step to be the appointment of staff for the four squads.
IHUK chairman Richard Grieveson has expressed a desire to see a player pathway created, so the youngsters will be coached in the same way from U12 all the way up to the senior squad.
“There are already some great coaches in the EIHA and SIHA, coaching England and Scotland for example,” said Hand.
“You have coaches in the Conference programme and those doing a great job at club level. We have so many good coaches within the junior system and we want to make use of them.
“From a coach’s point of view, it is an exciting time to be part of the Great Britain program.”
The U12 and U14 teams will be split into north and south – and these elite development squads will begin for the 2017/18 season.
Mark Beggs, IHUK’s national talent identification officer, said: “One of the main things is that we want the program to have a very strong foundation to build on.
“As Richard has said, we want a consistent way of playing, a consistent ethos and a link all the way from the U12 to the senior program.
“By coming through the 12s, 14s and 16s, we know they will be ready physically and mentally for IIHF tournaments.”
Both the U12 and U14 sides will be supported by a full coaching and management staff, and IHUK plan to make use of the existing quality coaches in the England and Scotland set-up particularly.
Beggs added: “We want to build the foundations now. We want to make an impact in five, six, seven, eight years time.
“If we can get these kids off to a really strong start on and off the ice, it means there are fewer opportunities for mistakes further down the line.
“We can’t have mistakes when they get to 18 and with this program, we can now deliver a really, really strong process.”