MINSK, 9 June (BelTA) – We need to do our homework after the recent IIHF World Championship in order to move forward and win the Olympic qualifying event in Bratislava, Slovakia in August 2021, new head coach of the Belarusian national ice hockey team Craig Woodcroft told the press service of the Belarus Ice Hockey Federation, BelTA has learned.
Regardless of the result, the recent IIHF World Championship will be a valuable experience for the young players and the newcomers to the national team. We need to turn around this experience to continue to learn, to grow and to win at another big tournament which is scheduled for late August. We do not have a lot of time to prepare, but, I hope, our players will do their homework after the IIHF World Championship as there is only one Olympic berth for grabs, the Canadian coach said.
He also shared his impressions of some players who did well in Riga. “I wouldn't say that someone surprised me a lot, as I have known all the players of the national team from the previous seasons. Yet, some hockey players exceeded my expectations. First of all, it was Yegor Sharangovich. On the world stage he showed that he has the skill to change the game in a moment, he keeps progressing. Yegor also feels comfortable as a team leader,” the coach said.
Alexei Protas was also good on the ice. He created great moments and showed a mature defensive game, which is definitely a step forward in the development of not only the player, but the whole national team program.
Vladislav Yeryomenko played solid in his World Championship debut. He played smart, made good pass decisions, also created attacks and did well in defense. We need to work hard on this element if we want to succeed in August.
In some moments, Alexei Kolosov was very confident in the goal. He showed us how he will play for his country in the future if he continues to work, learn and develop his game the way he did last season.
It is also worth mentioning Danny Taylor's performance. His play at the beginning of the tournament was impressive. He acted really well in the goal against very strong players,” the new head coach of the Belarusian ice hockey team said.
Speaking about the preparations for the tournament in Bratislava, the Canadian specialist said that he would rely on the opinion of the national team leaders. “First, the players need to rest, both physically and mentally. The next step for me will be to talk to the team leaders to learn their opinion on the team's performance at the World Championship, to listen to their thoughts on how to align and harmonize the squad. I want to hear from the players what worked out well and what did not. I also want to hear from them how we can improve our game and achieve our dream of competing in the 2022 Games. The coaching staff are already working on the training process. A more detailed training program for the Olympic qualification will be unveiled later, Craig Woodcroft said.
The Olympic qualifying event with the participation of the Belarusian national team will take place in Slovakia on 26-29 August 2021. Craig Woodcroft's team will compete for the only 2022 Games berth against Slovakia, Poland and Austria.