Keefe: Competing means success

Adam Keefe, along with Corey Neilson, are in charge of GB in Latvia (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

Great Britain’s co-coach Adam Keefe insists competing in every game will be success for the team with their opening World Championship game just over 24 hours away.

Keefe, along with Corey Neilson, are in Riga with the team, with head coach Pete Russell working from home for the competition.

And the Belfast Giants coach believes sticking to the team’s ethos will be important as he outlined the aims for the competition.

“We’ve got big hearts in this team and we’ll compete right to the end,” Keefe said. “We want to make sure we are competing in these games and get better as the tournament goes on.

“Success to me will be competing and that’s always been the ethos of the team under Pete, but naturally, we want to win as many as we can.

“We go in on Saturday as the underdogs against Russia obviously.  We’ve enjoyed having that tag and we intend to compete and hard and play the right way.

“If we compete hard the full game, no matter where we end up at the end of the game, it’ll be a win for us.”

Russell’s decision to stay in the UK, which was fully supported by Ice Hockey UK, has meant an opportunity for Keefe and Neilson, the former Elite League winning coach of Nottingham Panthers.

Keefe has urged the players to step up and battle for the spots, when the 28 man team is trimmed to 22 for games, but insists it hasn’t been too different in Pete’s absence.

“It’s a huge honour to be co-coach with Corey, but not a lot has changed for us to be honest,” Keefe added. “We’re in touch with Pete every day so our day to day preparations are there, exactly as they would be.

“I would reckon the biggest change will be during the games when we’ll have to make more game time decisions.

“Aside from that, we’re ticking along as normal and Pete has been a great help from home.

“Cutting the squad from 28 to 22 for game day means making difficult decisions on the day and that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing, to give players the opportunity to play and gain a spot on the roster.

“Then from there, keep their spot.  It’s a long tournament, even though it’s a short one with seven games packed into so many days.  If you want to stay in the line-up, you have to perform.”

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