Britain is doing really well at ice hockey right now

Britain, with its notoriously mild climate, is not a place that you often associated with ice hockey. And you would be right. We’re not great at ice hockey. Leeds doesn’t even have an ice hockey rink. But you might be surprised how well we’re doing.

We actually have a good pedigree at ice hockey. We’re one of only eight countries to have won the world championship, although it has been a while since of more recent, and indeed only, victory in 1936.

More recently, we’ve been out of the top division of world ice hockey. We haven’t been there since 1993, where we came up from the third division (confusing called 1B) in two successive years.

This changed last year when we went unbeaten, dominating famous hockey nations such as Japan and Netherlands.

Things looked a little tougher this year as we entered division 1A. But not so. We kicked off the tournament by beating Slovenia 3-1. We then took a 6-1 drubbing by Kazakhstan, before beating Poland 5-3 and Italy 4-3. Some of these teams are countries that actually care about ice hockey.

Going into the final game, it looked like three teams would end on equal points, and we would miss out on promotion being the third team. Hungary was winning 2-1. The campaign seemed to be all but over.

Then, with just 15 seconds to go, a nightmare for the hosts as Robert Farmer found the back of the net to bring things level.

After a tense overtime period, it fell down to a penalty shoot-out. Three fantastic saves by GB goalkeeper Ben Bowns left Hungary on the losing side of a 3-2 scoreline to skyrocket Britain to the top of the table.

Britain was going up!

Next year we’ll be playing in the championship division against the big four (Russia, Canada, Finland, Sweden) and many other excellent ice hockey teams from around the world. How will we do? Probably not too well. But at least we will be there: punching way above our weight.

Coverage in the UK

Say you did want to follow the ice hockey world championships. How would one do it?

Well, in the UK, the answer is you can’t. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) offers a free video stream of all the games. But the UK is blocked from this because Premier Sports owns the rights. But they don’t show the games. They don’t even show all of the championship games. It is most frustrating.

The best we get is to sit and watch the IIHF ticker.

No wonder nobody cares about ice hockey in the UK.



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This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2018 at 11:00 am and is filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.