Hunger to succeed greater than ever for GB veteran Ashley Tait

Great Britain's Ashley Tait. Picture: Colin Lawson.
Great Britain's Ashley Tait. Picture: Colin Lawson.
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It may be his 17th World Championships, but Great Britain forward Ashley Tait insists he is hungrier than ever to succeed.

GB arrived in Zagreb on Thursday for their Division 1B tournament, which sees them get underway tomorrow with an opening game against hosts Croatia.

In a tough schedule of five games in seven days, Pete Russell’s team will also face-off against Estonia, Lithuania Romania and Ukraine.

And former Sheffield Steelers’ favourite Tait, who turns 41 in August, can’t wait to get started as he looks to help his country achieve promotion to the second tier on the world stage.

“I think my hunger now is even more so than that first World Championship,” said Tait, who plies his trade in the Elite League with Coventry Blaze

“At that tournament I don’t really think I was aware of what I was getting myself into.

“Over the years you appreciate the chances more and especially after not travelling last year.

“It gave me something to go at this year and I was determined to make peope take notice again.”

Apart from the withdrawal of netminder Stephen Murphy, head coach Russell had a fully-fit squad to choose from for this tournament and Tait feels there is a good blend of youth and experience in the 23-man squad.

“We have a large group of players who have been together a while now,” added Tait.

Great Britain coach, Pete Russell. Picture: Colin Lawson.

Great Britain coach, Pete Russell. Picture: Colin Lawson.

“I think you can see that every time we get together.”

Hull-born defenceman David Phillips, meanwhile, believes better preparation is boosting GB’s chances of earning promotion to the second tier.

Before flying out to Zagreb, Russell’s players had a week-long training camp in Coventry and were on the ice twice each day, as well asplaying two invaluable warm-up games against Poland, where each team enjoyed a win.

And while having more ice time may be hard on the body after a long, tough Elite Leagfue campaign, Manchester Sotorm blue liner Phillips can only see benefits to the overall cause.

I think my hunger now is even more so than that first World Championship.

GB forward, Ashley Tait.

“Being on twice every day is tough but in the two sessions we get to work on what we need to do,” said Phillips.

“We get to work on our special teams, our powerplay and the penalty kill.

“We have taken huge strides in the last week and you can just see with the practices since arriving here.

“We have come a long way since day one last week.”

Great Britain and Sheffield Steelers' Ben O'Connor. Picture: Colin Lawson.

Great Britain and Sheffield Steelers' Ben O'Connor. Picture: Colin Lawson.