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Journey to the Worlds: Taking the Reins

It’s already been huge season for Great Britain Women’s Hockey, the GB U18’s journey to the World Championships Division 1, Katherine Gale’s adventures at the Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck and Saffron Allen receiving a conditional offer to be a London2012 torch bearer! How could it get any better? By hosting the IIHF World Women’s Championships Division 1B here in Britain; Hull, April 9th-15th 2012.

With just 2 months until Championships we would like you to join us on our “Journey to the Worlds”, I will be writing regular updates on the team, giving you an insight into the spirit and heart of the team and the journey we have taken both as individuals and as a team. 

So the first people I would like to introduce you to are our GB Team staff. This year sees a new coaching staff taking to the GB Bench after the retirement at the end of 2011 of long term Head Coach Reg Wilcox. Taking the reins as Head Coach is Simon Manning. Having been our Assistant Coach for 5 years brings he brings with him a wealth of experience at this level and talking to him about his new role he said “Being asked to be the Head Coach of the Women’s Senior Team is the great honour, something I had hoped would happen one day. Now it has, I am thrilled to be able do my part in the progression of the national team”. 

Joining the team staff to support Simon on the bench we are excited to have 2 new Assistant Coaches. Fiona King joins us bringing 20 years experience of the International game, including 10 years as GB Captain. Fiona commented “I am really excited to be given the opportunity to be part of the GB senior women’s team once again, this time as part of the coaching staff.  Having played at this level for so many years I feel I can understand all the pressures and commitment required from the girls to reach this level…” 

Our 2nd new coaching staff member, joining us from Gosport is Will Francis. Will has been coaching for 6 years & played for the last 19 years at both club and international level. Currently Head Coach at Gosport and part of the South West Conference Coaching staff. Will said, “I’m honoured and grateful to be offered such a great opportunity, I believe I’m ready for the challenges this new job will bring. I will be looking forward to being a part of this new coaching team to bring success over the forthcoming year”

Finally there’s me, Anna Walters. Having been Team Manager for just over 6 years, I’m immensely  proud to be managing such a fantastic team. Some may say we’re a young team but between us all we bring almost 70 years of experience to the team, and we are looking forward immensely to what the future brings for the GB Women’s Ice Hockey Team. In my next article, you’ll get to meet some of the players!


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