This week has seen the Great Britain Para Ice Hockey Team competing at the World Para Ice Hockey Championships, C-Pool, in Bangkok, Thailand.

The team includes 4 members of the GB Women’s Programme, the most women a team has ever taken and iced at a World Championship.

All four, Defender Leanne Emmerson, Netminder Jodi Hill and Forwards Dani Watts and Stacy Quirk were part of the GB Womens team at the inaugural Womens World Challenge in Green Bay, USA, in August, and following their showing in that tournament were invited to joins  the GB Team for the Worlds.

All four players have been on regular shifts in the 3 games GB have played so far (11-0 victory over Thailand and 7-0 victories over France and Austria) and aren’t out in Bangkok just to sit on the bench and make up the numbers. On Sunday they will be part of the team looking to claim victory over Kazakhstan and bring back a Gold Medal.

The tournament has also seen the Great Britain team earn a number of firsts…

  • First team to roster and ice 4 Women at a World Championship
  • First team to start 4 Women on the ice for an opening puck drop (GB v Austria)
  • First goal by a female at a World Championship (Dani Watts v Thailand)
  • First shutout by a female netminder at a World Championship (Jodi Hill v Austria)

GB Head Coach, Ian Offers commented “As a team we have 7 players making their International debut at this tournament, including the 4 women. We knew that this would be a development tournament and we have used it to develop and build a team ready to compete at future events.

“After coaching the Womens team at the Womens World Challenge I shortlisted a number of players who I wanted to start bringing into the GB Training camps with a view to them being a part of this team. I wasn’t looking just to make up the numbers, I wanted athletes who were coachable and would be able to compete against all male teams. Jodi, Leanne, Dani and Stacy have all improved since joining the programme and they will inspire the other players in the GB Womens programme to push themselves to make the next World Para Ice Hockey Championships.

Great Britain weren’t the only team to initially roster more than one female to their team. As Offers explained “I was told that Armenia had also planned to bring 4 women to the tournament, before the team pulled out at the laat minute, It would have been great to potentially have a game at a World Championships where 8 females could have been on the ice at the same time. That would definitely have sent a message to the other nations that women can play and compete at this level.”