We have a game plan for 'strong' Latvia says GB assistant

07 February 2013 / 10:08

British ice hockey assistant coach Doug Christiansen insists there were no surprises as he and head coach Tony Hand scouted Latvia ahead of their final Olympic qualifying tournament opener.

Christiansen and Hand watched Latvia, the host nation of the four-team tournament where only the winner will advance to Sochi 2014, train on Wednesday in Riga.

Latvia are the highest ranked team in the group in 11th in the world with Britain set to meet them first before facing France on Friday and Kazakhstan on Sunday.

France and Kazakhstan are ranked 14th and 17th in the world respectively with Britain, who hasn’t qualified an ice hockey team for the Olympics since St Moritz 1948, 22nd.

Christiansen admitted Latvia were everything he expected them to be in training on Wednesday but warned Britain will have a game plan in place to combat their quality.

“Latvia look very, very strong and every bit as good as we thought they would be,” he said. “They are strong all over the ice and, even from watching their training session; it is obvious they are so talented.

“But we have our game plans and we will work on them in practice. The spirit is excellent. The boys are relaxed but focused and they can't wait to step out on the ice.”

© Sportsbeat 2013