Fail to prepare, Prepare to fail

Before I start this article I want to make it clear that I am in no way having a dig at any of the players currently in Slovenia representing Great Britain.

I wrote this on Twitter yesterday after GB beat Ukraine in overtime at the World Championship “Just imagine how good this GB team could be with the correct preparation and backing”. I meant it as well, we had been narrowly defeated by hosts Slovenia, beaten by favourites Austria and beaten the Ukraine when I wrote it. Sadly, today’s game against the Japanese appears to have been one game too far and the team are now staring down the barrel of relegation after coming so close to promotion to Pool A just 12 months ago.

The thing is it is hardly surprising what is happening when you consider the ludicrous decisions taken by Ice Hockey UK when it comes to the national team.

Firstly, they allow the coach who got us so close to the top tier to just walk away without a fight.
Secondly, they appoint a replacement in Tony Hand who missed the first two games due to Manchester’s involvement in the EPL Play-Off finals in Coventry. For me that is a quite ludicrous and farcical situation and whoever allowed it to happen should hang their head in shame.
Thirdly, there is hardly any preparation time before the championships and this year there wasn’t even a warm-up game. A three day training camp just doesn’t cut it when we have to face better quality, better prepared teams.

As it is I think we’ve overachieved considering the preparation we’ve had and it also highlights the performance of 12 months ago as even more remarkable.

Most will say that the answer is money and the lack of it. I don’t believe it is that simple though, I think what this GB squad needs is time together. Would it really be too much of a hardship for the squad to meet up for three or four days at least three times a season? Maybe play a couple of games against anyone of an Elite Select team, Ireland, Belgium or the Netherlands? It doesn’t take too much funding but it the squad does need time together to work on systems and build camaraderie. Is that really too much to ask of the powers that be?

Quite frankly something needs to be done and done quickly because personally I find it an insult to those players out there who are so proudly pulling on and playing for the national shirt.

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5 Responses to “Fail to prepare, Prepare to fail”


  1. 1 Phil Cooper April 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I totally agree with the sentiments expressed above. I was awaiting an announcement regarding warm up matches, as last year – but none. Again a game against what imports were around would have been good. Paul Thompson left with comments seemingly aimed at the hierarchy, after a good campaign last year.
    Its a bit hard to blame Tony Hand as he could not help the scenario that had unfolded, which made his position almost untenable. However he did have an able deputy there in form of Doug Christiensen.
    “Quite frankly something needs to be done and done quickly” I believe the opposite course of action should be taken. Rather than a quick knee jerk, find a scape goat and then sweep it under the carpet, a full review needs to be taken. This should involve the running of Ice Hockey UK, how British players are being developed, how the game is being promoted and broadcast and the role of the Elite League. Reference to people within the game and in broadcasting, along with taking account of how other countries and other sports within GB have gained success, needs to be taken into account.
    I have only been involved in following ice hockey for 3 years, but from what I can see (and I may be wrong) there does not seem to be a strategy for taking the game forward and improving the performance of team GB.

  2. 2 mosmyth April 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Well said! Someone needs to take ownership and guide others to better organisation for these players and for the future.

  3. 3 raddays April 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    It would be nice to get a trueful response off the IH UK in relation to visions for the future of the GB team and Ice hockey in general. Not sure if they blame everything on the lack of funding and resources. We really enjoyed watching the friendly games involving the GB team over the last couple of years and I am sure it helped in their preparation too. So some of the hardwork over this time could be undone by the end of the week.

    As a comparison does anyone know what kind of budget and preparation the other teams in our group did this year. I would be surprised if it was just three days.

  4. 5 Gaz April 19, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    To be honest this these championships take place far too close to the end of season and overlap with the EPL play off finals. For me they would need to re-jig the season, but from a selfish point of view I don’t want to shorten our season, my preference would be to see the season run to the end of April, not end Mid March!! Therefore it’s club before country for me and I’m not too fussed about these Championships!


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