Posted by Graham Goodman on 10th October 2003 at 12:43 GMT
Posted from 188.8.131.52 (82-32-86-97.cable.ubr01.chap.blueyonder.co.uk)
In reply to Re: How to create a European Hockey League? posted by Håkan Ljung on 9th October 2003 at 21:32 GMT:
It's OK, Håkan. My reply regarding Longstaff was a little tongue in cheek... :-)
Longstaff is quite frustrating in a way. I don't know if it's the island mentality of the Brits, or whether our heavily imported league gives our players an inferiority complex. But very few try their chances abroad, and even fewer try it in Europe, where they will perhaps get the best training for Britain's national team. Longstaff was the first senior to travel to Europe for a very long time (since Gordon Latto went to Sweden in the mid-70s I believe, although some juniors have tried it). It's frustrating that easily our best forward didn't decide to continue his development. However, I can only applaud him for putting his family above his own aspirations...
This season, our biggest hope abroad is netminder Joe Watkins in the ECHL (Bakersfield), where he is likely to be back-up to Peter Hirsch, the Danish first choice in last year's Worlds.
We need to encourage our players to head to Europe to learn further. Hopefully with the shift in our import's nationalities to Eastern Europe, it may open some more minds...
I may not bother Ice Hockey UK with my format just now. I think they have even bigger problems just now with the ongoing political saga that has resulted in the fragmented state of the British leagues. That has to be their first priority just now. No matter how strong Europe gets as a whole, we are being left behind by the internal fighting that is killing the sport in our country.
Booking the flights to Stockholm this weekend, and asking Santa to bring me lots of warm clothes at Xmas to prepare for the Swedish winter... :-)
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