New national development role for Hand

Ice Hockey UK have appointed Tony Hand as their first-ever National Development Head Coach.

The 49-year-old former Great Britain player and coach was the first British-raised player to be drafted by an NHL side when he was picked up by Edmonton Oilers in 1986.

In a two-year stint as GB head coach, he led the national side to the final qualifying stages for the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014.

He will work alongside Mark Beggs who will have an expansion of his current role and becomes National Talent Identification Officer.

IHUK boss, Richard Grieveson, said: “What can I say about Tony Hand? He’s a legend of the game in the UK and a real ambassador for our sport.

“Tony is going to work very closely with our U16, U18 and U20 coaching staff.

“He will be responsible for establishing goals for each of those respective teams and ensuring that the required standards and quality of the programme are achieved.

“He will provide management, direction, guidance and support to all those national team head coaches.

“Tony will look at the talented player pathway and he will take a significant lead on all national team matters and international competition that those teams will participate in.”

Hand said: “It is an absolute honour to be involved in this new role for Ice Hockey UK and Great Britain.

“I’m very passionate about Great Britain ice hockey and I want us to see us develop great coaches and players.

“We’ve some talented coaches and players in the national programme. If we can get the young players to play to their potential, then there are exciting times ahead for GB.

“I would like to thank the IHUK board for giving me this opportunity and Neil Morris for allowing me to take up this role alongside my Manchester Phoenix duties.”

Morris confirmed Phoenix would lose Hand’s services for some weekends during the season, but said he was happy to help the national programme.

“We all have to make sacrifices to make a change for the better if we want to be successful as a nation,” said Morris.

“It’s a great opportunity for Tony and I think we should support it. I do not think there is anyone better qualified to take this position than Tony, with his dedication, emotion, knowledge and commitment to the role.

“He brings so much to the table and I’m sure it was an easy decision for Ice Hockey UK to make.”

Beggs was born in Glasgow but grew up in Toronto, coaching minor hockey with the Toronto Marlies and then moving onto Junior A with the Aurora Tigers.

He spent three years as head coach of GB U18 and is also European scout for the Ogden Mustangs of the WSHL in North America.

“Mark will be responsible for all technical matters and administration – and the development and implementation of statistical data,” Grieveson added.

“He will ensure that this data is utilised in the development and delivery of the sports elite development plan and pathway.

“With his tremendous statistical and analytical side – and his technical ability – Mark will be so vital for us going forward.

“He will work closely with the Tony to raise standards of coaching, management and performance within the GB programme.”

Beggs said: “The extension of the current role will allow me to continue to focus on raising the standards of player identification within the program and incoming players.

“With the addition last year of the U16 team and delivering the incoming U12 and U14 programmes, the focus will be to ensure the foundations are in place on and off the ice and identify new team staff.

“The programme continues to evolve at a rapid rate and with the national development coach monitoring on ice, it’s a required addition to the program which we will see immediate benefits.”

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