The British Olympic Association has succeeded in securing a $100,000 (U.S.) grant from the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Solidarity World Programme to support Ice Hockey UK in its efforts to qualify a British men’s team for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
The BOA applied for the grant in 2012 and received word from the International Olympic Committee this week, coinciding with the start of the programme this month. The entire grant will be directed to Ice Hockey UK and will be utilised to help defray expenses associated with team training camps, travel for competition and other costs associated with the ongoing effort to qualify for the Games. The grant from Olympic Solidarity is for a Team Sport Award and is designated specifically for team sports on the Olympic Winter Games programme.
Great Britain have already advanced to the final Olympic Qualification Tournament, which will take place 7-10 February in Riga, Latvia. Currently ranked 21st in the world, Great Britain are in a group that includes Latvia (11), France (14) and Kasakhstan (17). The winner of the tournament in Riga will qualify for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Great Britain advanced to the final Olympic Qualification Tournament by winning an Olympic Pre-Qualification event in Nikko, Japan in November that included Japan (22), Romania (27) and Korea (28).
Great Britain last made an appearance in the Olympic ice hockey tournament at the 1948 Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Great Britain won the gold medal in ice hockey at the 1936 Olympic Winter Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
The GB team is coached by Tony Hand and will play its final warm-up game before the Olympic Qualification Tournament on 5 February in Sheffield against a select team.
British Olympic Association Chief Executive Andy Hunt said:
“Ice Hockey UK is attempting to accomplish something that hasn’t been done for more than 60 years, and we are delighted to support their efforts by securing this grant. Equally, we greatly appreciate the support of Olympic Solidarity in reviewing, and ultimately approving, our grant request.”
Ice Hockey UK Secretary General Andy French said:
“Ice Hockey UK is overwhelmed with the support of the British Olympic Association and delighted with the International Olympic Committee in reviewing and approving the grant requested for ice hockey to support our efforts to qualify the Great Britain Men’s Team for the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi and, if we are successful in doing so, create some modern-day history for our sport in the UK.”