How home advantage could help Great Britain's ice hockey heroes reach the 2026 Winter Olympics
Pete Russell’s team will play host in the pre-qualification round of the Olympic Qualifiers at Cardiff’s Vindico Arena from February 8-11.
They will come up against Romania, China and a qualifier yet to be determined from the previous round.
The group winners will then progress to final qualifying in August 2024 when a spot for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy will be up for grabs.
It’s the second time in four years that the UK has held this stage of the Olympic Qualifiers, with Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena hosting the tournament in February 2020, GB missing out as Hungary progressed at their expense when winning the final game of the tournament 4-1.
But home ice proved a massive advantage more recently when GB returned to Nottingham in May in their attempt to gain a return to the top tier of the international game at the first time of asking.
They were able to do so and in some style, too, winning all five games, including the decider against Italy when they triumphed 5-3.
Henry Staelens, chair of Ice Hockey UK, said: “It’s going to be a special event and great to be taking GB Men’s competitive hockey to Cardiff, who have been really good to work with during our conversations with them.
“I’m sure the fans will pack the place out and create a brilliant atmosphere as we aim to progress to the next round.”
Cardiff Devils MD, Todd Kelman, whos team play their Elite League games at the Vindico Arena, added: “We are pleased to be able to host such a prestigious event. We look forward to working with Ice Hockey UK to bring this tournament to Vindico Arena and hopefully have plenty of fans cheering on GB.”
Full details, including schedule and ticket prices, will be released in the coming weeks.