Ice Hockey: Raiders and Great Britain under-18s coach Sean Easton praises impact of men’s side
PUBLISHED: 13:00 03 May 2018
Everyone Active Raiders and Great Britain under-18s coach Sean Easton praised the impact of the nation’s men side after they were promoted back to ice hockey‘s elite level for the first time since 1994 thanks to an overtime win over Hungary on Saturday night.
Robert Farmer scored 15 seconds from time to secure Great Britain the point they needed to win the gold medal in Hungary.
GB, ranked 24th in the world and the tournament’s bottom seeds, needed a point to win promotion but were trailing 2-0 with 10 minutes remaining.
A Robert Dowd goal was followed by a penalty-shot save by Ben Bowns before Farmer sent GB into dreamland with the equalising goal with only 15 seconds remaining.
GB went on to win the game 3-2 by securing a penalty-shot victory and will be joined in the top flight by Italy, while Kazakhstan won the bronze medal.
They will now play in the 2019 World Championships against some of the greatest ice hockey nations in the world, like Canada, Russia, the United States, Sweden and Finland in Slovakia next May.
“It’s huge, as we have seen already ice hockey got some coverage on the BBC and the higher the country go in the world rankings the more publicity the sport gets,” Easton said.
“This helps the clubs like Romford as companies see the coverage on BBC and take an interest in their local clubs often leading to sponsors.
“Also it gets new fans through the door to watch their local hockey and helps the clubs revenue to keep going and improve.”
Easton believes the country now has a lot of work to do with in youth ranks after this achievement from their men’s side.
“We as a country need to aid junior development, being involved with the Great Britain U18s gold medal team and seeing the level of competition, we need to develop in certain areas and give them not just the tools to play the game but the knowledge of the game.
“Skill set, awareness and knowledge of the game.”
The under-18s also won gold and will now in Division One Group A next year.