Russell: GB’s never-say-die attitude is crucial

Head Coach Pete Russell says Great Britain’s team spirit is crucial as their World Championship (Division 1B) campaign gets under way tonight in Zagreb.

GB begin the 2016 tournament against hosts Croatia, in front of what’s expected to be a full house at the Dom Sportova Arena.

Russell’s then face Estonia on Monday and Lithuania on Wednesday before Friday’s match with Romania, who were promoted from Division 2A last season.

They round off the six-team group with a game on Saturday against Ukraine, who came down from Division 1A.

“Our spirit, determination and never-say-die attitude is fantastic,” said Russell.

“This side just does not know when it is beaten and we showed that on more than one occasion last season.

“There is a close-knit bond between these players and they will go to the wall for each other.

“They have worked so hard in the last couple of weeks and we have prepared well. There is a good feeling in the camp and we are looking forward to the next week.”

GB took the silver medal at last year’s championship in Netherlands, but came close to gold and promotion.

In the end, Korea went up after GB – needing only a point for the gold medal – lost against Lithuania in their final game.

“We can learn from that,” said Russell. “We can use that to make us stronger.

“I’ve thought is there something I could have done different last year, but I do not think we should dwell on it.

“We are here to go one better this time and the guys will put it all on the line to achieve that goal.”

Russell has confirmed Jonathan Phillips will captain the team in Zagreb, with Robert Dowd and Mark Richardson the alternate captains.

“These three are really experienced players and it is the same three as last year’s tournament,” he added.

“They have great leadership qualities and they are all respected in the dressing room.”

(Image permission: IceHockeyMedia)

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