Great Britain bids to defend World Championship title

Tuesday, 5th July 2005
The Great Britain team for this July’s IIHF In-Line Hockey World Championships has been announced with several new faces joining last year’s Division B World champions.
Great Britain In-Line Hockey Head Coach Mark Cavallin and Assistant Coaches Nick Crawley and Rob Coulstock have included eight new players for the annual showpiece tournament to be held this year in Kuopio, Finland where Team GB look to defend their title and challenge for promotion to join In-Line hockey’s elite group of eight nations.
“This year’s squad looks to be even better than last year's,” says Cavallin, “We are very happy to have a good nucleus returning from last year's gold winning team combined with a good mix of new young and energetic players. There were so many players to choose from that we decided to take sixteen skaters instead of the fourteen we took last year.”
This year’s team will feature two goalies making their GB debuts - James Tanner and Andy Assa. Aaron Shinwell also makes a return to the team in 2005 having played in 2003’s tournament while Cavallin also names five other new faces that will be making their first appearances for GB.
“We have two proven young goalies in Tanner and Assa who have significant experience in national and European competition. I’m also delighted to see some great young skaters making the cut this year in Karl Nematali, Stuart Brian, Mark Corfield, John Nash and Richie Hargreaves. They join an already strong line up.”
Cavallin suggests that selecting the team for his third World Championship behind the bench was his hardest task yet, with a real depth of talent in the British game right now. “Picking any national squad is difficult,” adds Cavallin, “however, every year in British In-Line hockey there are more players to choose from that could legitimately crack the line up.  It is great to see so many young players with great skill and the future looks very good for inline hockey in Great Britain.”
In July last year, Great Britain caused a sensation when they defeated favourites Japan before going on to beating seeds Brazil in the final of the Division B World Championships in Bad Tolz, Germany to register their first ever World title at the International Ice Hockey Federation’s In-Line event. This year, Team GB are looking to consolidate their position as the number one nation outside of the world’s elite group and in doing so prepare to make the step up to join the game’s giants who include defending A Division champions Finland, and other great sides including USA, Sweden and the Czech Republic, who can all call upon top professional athletes from the major ice and inline hockey leagues in the world.
Great Britain are the number one seeds of eight teams in the B tournament this year and will face Hungary, Australia and Portugal in the group stage before the knockout phase of the event begins. If GB wins their group they will have the opportunity to playoff against the bottom placed team out of the USA, Germany, Slovakia and Slovenia with the winners taking a place in the A Division for the remainder of the championships and next year’s tournament.
Under the guidance of Cavallin, the GB team will strive hard to repeat last year’s win and achieve whatever they can: “The direction of this team has always been about giving back to those players dedicated to the sport,” admits Cavallin. “It is difficult for senior players to stay dedicated to the sport because of a lack of finance in the game and other commitments. Regardless of the team’s achievements we want all players to finish this year’s tournament with a satisfying experience and a desire to play more hockey…Medals are just the icing on the cake.”
A DVD charting behind the scenes and game action from Great Britain’s games at last year’s tournament is also being released. To obtain a copy, email your inquiry to Dan Morris at
Great Britain start their campaign with a fixture against Poland on July 10th.   You can follow all the action on the tournament website at or check out the Great Britain team site at