Jonathan Phillips says Great Britain must make a winning start at the World Championship (Division 1B) tournament in Belfast if their promotion dream is to become a reality.
GB face Croatia in their opening game on Sunday and Phillips is hoping a vociferous home crowd can roar the team to victory.
“We’ve seen in the last two tournaments that getting a good start is important and you can’t afford to lose a match – it cost us going up last year,” said Phillips.
“Starting well is imperative and the main focus is that first game against Croatia. We use the old clichés of ‘one game at a time’, but with five games over a short period, every one counts.
“It’s something that hasn’t been held here for a long time, so to get to be the home nation and have our fans behind us and supporting us, we’re excited to see how many turn out.
“Every year, you look at it like a big year, especially the last couple of years where we’ve gone so close to being promoted.
“This year we’ve really got our eyes focussed on a gold medal. There’s so much experience in our room and it’s a great place to be. We’re all excited to get going.
“The crowd will be massive and the support we’ve had in previous tournaments has been fantastic and having them there in Belfast and cheering loudly will be great for us.
“We’re going to be doing all we can to not only get promoted, but play some good hockey for the supporters as well.”
(Image permission: Karl Denham)