Sheffield Steelers’ Robert Dowd hoping GB survival can inspire next generation

ROBERT DOWD hopes Great Britain can retain their place among the world elite for years to come and help inspire a new generation of players to follow in their footsteps.

Robert Dowd, in action in Kosice for Great Britain. Picture: Dean Woolley.
Robert Dowd, in action in Kosice for Great Britain. Picture: Dean Woolley.

Sheffield Steelers’ forward Dowd played a pivotal role in Monday night’s 4-3 comeback World Championship triumph over France in Slovakia, which was sealed with an overtime winner from Ben Davies.

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Three goals inside four second-period minutes for France had left GB with a mountain to climb in order to avoid suffering an immediate return to the second tier.

Robert Dowd celebrates his goal against France with Sheffield Steelers and GB team-mate Ben O'Connor. Picture: Dean Woolley.

But Dowd’s 35th-minute strike launched the fightback for Pete Russell’s team inside Kosice’s Steel Arena, with further goals from Mike Hammond and Robert Farmer setting up the additional overtime period for Davies to then strike and make history.

The result meant it was the first time GB had secured a second successive year in the top flight, with Dowd admitting the biggest challenge would be remaining among the elite beyond Switzerland 2020.

“I don’t think a British team has ever stayed up so it’s an unbelievable achievement,” said Dowd. “Winning promotion last year in Budapest was amazing, but that was done 25 years ago and then they bounced right back down. But this (staying up) has never been done before so it has to be up there with the best that any GB team has ever done.

“Hopefully we can stay at this level for the next few years and be a staple team. It gives kids a pathway to go through and be seen by scouts all over the world.

Robert Dowd chats to an official during the 9-0 defeat against Denmark in Kosice. Picture: Dean Woolley.

“I hope what we have done can inspire a new generation. It’s still a minority sport, but now the youngsters have seen us playing against the best players in the world, players they watch on the TV, players they have in their teams on their NHL 19 game. To see people like us that have come through the UK system do that, hopefully gives kids something to strive for.”