British Hockey Team Comes in From the Cold at World Championship Express News
After the Group A leader Finland defeated Britain, 5-0, on Friday, the Finnish coach, Jukka Jalonen, said the British team belonged at this level.
“They fought hard, played together, and it was very difficult for us to score,” Jalonen said.
Against an American team captained by the three-time Stanley Cup champion Patrick Kane on May 15, Britain held on valiantly for 60 minutes. The score was tied, 1-1, nearly halfway through the game, before the United States pulled away for a 6-3 win.
“To play like we did and be in that game was special,” said O’Connor, who regularly skates for the Sheffield Steelers, one of the Elite league’s most popular teams. “You catch yourself thinking, ‘Patrick Kane is coming down on me.’ It’s surreal.”
Forward Colin Shields, 39, a member of the Belfast Giants of the Elite league, recently announced his retirement and is playing his final tournament for the national team.
“To line up against some of the players on Team U.S.A. was definitely a moment I’ll never forget and one of the greatest games I’ve been a part of in my career,” Shields said.
Britain Coach Peter Russell noted that his team earns a combined 500,000 pounds a year (about $637,000) and that the American squad “gets paid $82.5 million.”
Britain goaltender Ben Bowns has stopped 197 of 225 shots, more than any other goalie in Slovakia.
“We’ve proven that we got a lot of heart and character, and we’re not just a bunch of Brits that skate around in circles,” Bowns said.