World University Games Trials – 29th January 2016 Report
Posted on Fri 5th February, 2016
Last Friday, saw 35 players from around the UK, converging on Ice Sheffield, for the first of two GBU(M) trials. Students travelled the length and breadth of the UK, from Aberdeen and Southampton, to Aberystwyth and Peterborough, to compete for a place in the GBU(M) Squad.
The standard was high, with all players being subjected to both on and off ice testing, with an average benchmark of the English Premier Ice Hockey League as the desired standard, in order for GBU to compete at the prestigious Winter Universiade.
Players and their parents sat through a presentation on the World University Games, which was attended by the BUCS Head of International Programs - Neil Rogers. Neil will be travelling to Almaty in Kazakhstan, next week, to join other nations in a recce of the facilities.
All of the GBU(M) staff were in attendance, including the new addition of former Belfast Giants and GBR Senior netminder - Nathan Craze. With more than a dozen goalies registering an interest in the program, Nathan has a key role in the development of the team.
Three WUG veterans attended the trials and were all re-selected into the Squad. Sam Bullas (Swindon) and Stuart Mogg (Basingstoke), both currently play in the EPIHL. Christy Johnson-Brown, who was injured playing against Slovakia, at the 2013 WUG in Trentinno (Italy), was eager to return to action.
Overall, 21 players were selected to advance into the Squad, with a further 14 players expected to join the next trials (April). 6 of these players currently play in the Collegiate system in North America.
It is anticipated that a long squad of 30 players will be confirmed in the summer, ahead of the FISU announcement on secured team entries for the 2017 WUG. The final Team will be announced in the autumn, followed by a series of training camps and challenge games.
The coaches are still considering players to be included at the next trials, so anyone interested with playing experience at EPIHL or EIHL level, are asked to contact the Team Manager.