Free-scoring Dowd thrilled to be part of Olympic qualifier

08 February 2013 / 10:23

Sochi 2014 Team GB hopeful

Robert Dowd isn’t a stranger to scoring in the biggest ice hockey tournaments having secured a move to Sweden off the back of his efforts for Britain at the World Championships earlier this year.

And, despite netting once again in an ultimately fruitless cause for Great Britain as they lost the opening game of the final Olympic qualifier to hosts Latvia 6-2, he isn’t about give up for club and country.

Dowd scored five times in five matches as Britain maintained their place in World Championship Division One Group A back in April and contributed the one goal in the pre-Olympic qualifier seven months later.

That came in Britain’s 3-0 win over Romania and in a tournament that Britain were to win, they lost to South Korea after a shootout in their first game and beat Japan in their third, to book a place in the final Olympic qualifier.

In between Dowd moved from the Belfast Giants, where he netted 30 goals in 45 games as they finished top of the Elite League standings before losing in the play-offs, to Troja-Ljungby in the Swedish Allsvenskan.

The 24-year-old became the first Englishman to play in Sweden since David Longstaff, who ended his international career last month, turned out for Djurgardens over ten years ago during the 2001/02 season.

Dowd also won the Elite League twice with the Sheffield Steelers in 2009 and 2011 and has scored for Great Britain at under-18, under-20 and senior level.

However, with Britain facing France next in the final Olympic qualifying tournament in Riga and needing to win to keep their hopes of reaching Sochi 2014 alive, Dowd knows the team cause is the most important.

“It’s a massive achievement [to be in Latvia] and pretty thrilling to be part of it. It’s huge for British ice hockey and I think with all the publicity we’ve been getting over the last couple of months since we made this step it is huge for the game,” said Dowd.

“It’s humbling and it’s very special to be part of the team. I’ve had a lot of highs and a lot of lows in hockey as with most players but to be part of a team that qualifies, when Britain have not done it for over 50 years now, would be something special.

“It would top anything I have done before. I have had some good achievements but qualifying for the Olympics would top everything and would be something special to tell the grandchildren.”

© Sportsbeat 2013