Solway Sharks players and staff are flying the flag for Great Britain this week, representing the nation at the IIHF Under-20 World Championship competition in Kaunas, Lithuania. The GB team take on hosts Lithuania as well as teams from Croatia, Netherlands, Romania and Spain in the six-team group.
This year sees Solway head coach Martin Grubb return to lead GB u20s as head coach, and James “Peam” Stenton return as the team equipment manager, roles they have held down for a number of years with both GB and Solway. Martin is an IIHF level 3 coach, a rank held by very few in this country, and last season celebrated leading the Dumfries based club to league and playoff success before winning the UK national championship. Joining Peam and Martin this year are Kell Beattie and Jonathan McBean from the current Solway Sharks squad. Both players are currently on 2 way deals with Elite League teams Belfast Giants and Dundee Stars respectively, and have landed in Dumfries over the last few seasons to be coached by the team here to both improve their skills and gain valuable playing time, something that has no doubt helped with their selection to the Great Britain team this year.
Solway Sharks coach Jamie Thomson said, “Everyone at Solway Sharks is delighted to see four of our team go to represent Great Britain at the World Championships in Lithuania this month. This continues a long run of successful players and staff members from the club being chosen for international honours and is something the club is very proud of. Martin led the Sharks to an enviable treble last season, and Peam is just as much a part of the success of the team as anyone, his dedication to the team and GB allows Martin and his staff to concentrate on coaching while he always ensures the players equipment is fit for purpose, they have what they need and are ready to go.
Everyone is very proud of Martin, Peam, Jonnie and Kell; the players have put in a tonne of work this season to make that GB squad and thoroughly deserve the opportunity. As for Martin and Peam in my opinion they are the best men for the jobs and we wish them all the best and hope they bring back Gold medals this year.”
Solway Sharks Chairman Ian Bryden added, “It is a great testament to the continued hard work and effort of players and staff at the Sharks that a small provincial club such as ours, has sent such a large contingent to the GB team currently competing in Lithuania. The Sharks club continues to go from strength to strength and provides a pathway to develop ice hockey talent on and off the ice.”
The tournament continues for the rest of this week.