Ice hockey fans in the UK are in for a real treat with the news that the Great Britain senior national team will take on Sweden’s national under 20 team at the Coventry Skydome on Thursday 10th April.
The Swedes are the current World under 20 silver medallists, having finished runners up to Canada in the World Final in the Czech Republic on 5th January. They came within a whisker of creating one of the biggest upsets in recent tournament history, only losing to Canada 3-2 in overtime in the final. Canada has now won four consecutive gold medals at that age group. The Swedes did, however, end Canada’s three year, 20 game winning run in the competition, beating them 4-3 in a qualifying game. Defenceman Victor Hedman and forward Patrik Berglund were selected for the World All Star team from the tournament.
Great Britain Head Coach, Paul Thompson expressed his delight at the fixture.
“This is a massive coup to get this team to come and play us in the UK. They may be an under 20 team but they are right up there as one of the world’s best. Their roster is packed with future NHL and top European stars and to be able to play them over here is just fantastic. We are very excited.
“This game is going to really test us and is going to be great preparation for the World Championships in Austria the following week. It’s taken the best part of a year to make it happen and I’m really pleased that we will be hosting them over here in the UK.”
The Swedes will arrive in the UK on the day of the game and will train in Coventry on the Friday before leaving for a tournament in Russia at the weekend.
Chairman of Ice Hockey UK, Bob Wilkinson, thinks the fixture will be a great boost for British hockey.
“I’m absolutely delighted that Paul has been able to arrange this game for the national team. It’s going to be fabulous to have such a top quality team playing us in the UK and following on from our participation in the Mont Blanc Euro Challenge, should provide us with great preparation for the team ahead of the World Championships.”
“UK hockey fans have been crying out for an international on home ice and now they have a really good one to look forward to. We now need them to come out in force and support the national team and this game. They are going to see a great game and some real stars. Hopefully it will be a real success.”
Great Britain v Sweden Under 20 will take place at the Coventry Skydome Arena on Thursday 10th April 2008, facing off at 8pm. Tickets are priced at £15 for adults, £8 for under 16’s and OAP’s and £40 for a 2 adult/2 concession family ticket.
Tickets will go on sale from the Arena Box office on Monday 25th February by calling 02476 630693 (option 0).
This is good for GB, while i think they will get comprehensively beaten it will be good to play against some top quality opposition i think.