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Steeldogs turned Young Lions

It’s a great honour to represent your country at the sport you love, and this season four Steeldogs have been selected to wear the GB jersey with pride.

In January, the GB under 20s squad included Jordan Griffin, Alex Graham and Reece Cochrane. They shared some thoughts of their experience in Lithuania.

When you get the call to play for GB...

Alex: its a privilege every time you are asked to play, something to look forward to and afterwards you have great memories.

Jordan: it’s a great call to get, an honour, and it’s a chance to get to see some of the world.

The differences between Steeldogs and the GB set up is...

Alex: in some respects it’s not that different just a group of lads playing abroad also the approach to win every game is very similar. But the way you play is different and you learn different systems.

Jordan: there are plenty of similarities but maybe the main difference is the people are all the same age, but even with this there’s a good mix of experience and personalities. You get to know your defensive partners quickly even though you’re not with them all the time.

Game day routines with GB are different because...

Alex: you may have an early face off so your routine is different to when there’s a late face off as you get a morning skate. On an early game we might just watch some video footage as our preparation.

Jordan: our meals are prepared for us, also you get more ice time. There could be a pre-game skate, some rest time is included and then you get to the rink about 2 hours before the game just as we do with the Steeldogs.

Reece: I like to prepare for the GB games in a similar way to the Steeldogs games, in that I put kit on in a particular way and I listen to music. The team is a little more structured and certain things happen at certain times, you’re all working together on the same things.

The intensity of the game is ...

Alex: very intense, there is the game to win, upcoming games to be aware of and there are scouts in the crowd who may be watching you as well as the fans who travel to watch, so you are aware of your own performance and the team performance.

Jordan: different to the Steeldogs. It really is more intense as you have fewer games to make an impact and take points. Every period is critical so it’s important to stay focussed. The games are a little faster than for the Steeldogs so you are kept on your toes.

Scoring for your country is...

Alex: oh, this is unreal, whether it’s an assist or goal, it’s a special moment. You feel enormous pride when you get the goal. It’s great to add points to your game and when you’re with GB you play alongside players you may face weekly in the NIHL/EIHL and you develop a bond quickly in the GB camps.

Being away from home is...

Alex: Fun, exciting, you’re away with the lads so this part is enjoyable. My dad came across for the tournament so I saw him when we were given time for family meet ups. Jordan: OK, you get to see different cities and places that are interesting. When you get family time you get to see your family then.

Reece: I don’t mind being away too much as I’m away from home while I’m at Sheffield. My parents texted me daily and checked in with me. They watched the games on the TV so we could talk about that too.

The silver medal made me feel...

Jordan: a sense of achievement. Of course, we wanted the gold but a silver medal is something to be proud of. Reece: good because winning any medal is an achievement. We aim for gold obviously but silver means we go next time as a top seed. It makes me want to work harder.

The more time you spend with GB...

Jordan: the more experience you have to pass on to the younger and newer members of the squad. You encourage them, reassure them and point them in the right direction.

Reece: the more you get used to competitions and the intensity of a tournament.

Well done guys on your silver medals.

Jack Brammer was selected for the GB under 18s, along with Alex and Jordan and was due to be going out to Estonia later this month. Unfortunately, with the concerns about travelling at present due to coronavirus, that tournament as been cancelled. We are sure that other opportunities will feature in their futures – and we are happy that they will be around to play for the Dogs for the rest of the campaign.

The team are back on home ice on Sunday March 15th playing the Bracknell Bees. Come down to see our young Lions and the rest of guys as the Final Countdown continues.

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Roger Williams

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