Sheffield Steelers' winger ready for GB challenge

GB players get their first look inside the Dom Sportova Arena.  Pic: Colin Lawson.
GB players get their first look inside the Dom Sportova Arena. Pic: Colin Lawson.
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Steelers forward Robert Dowd says final GB preparation sessions in Zagreb are crucial ahead of the World Championship, which gets under way on Sunday.

GB will begin the six-team Division 1B tournament with a game against hosts Croatia, before facing Estonia, Lithuania, Romania and Ukraine.

A shot of the outside of the rink.

A shot of the outside of the rink.

Pete Russell’s side have just completed over a week of training camp in Coventry, which included back-to-back matches against Division 1A side Poland.

Poland won the first game in overtime at the National Ice Centre last Sunday, before Ben O’Connor’s winning goal gave GB a 3-2 overtime victory at the Skydome the following day.

Dowd, who will win his 45th cap in Sunday’s opener, said: "The sooner we get together and the more sessions we get together, the better it is for us.

“Some of these teams have been together a long time already as their leagues finish before ours, so they will have had plenty of practice together as a team.

“It is nice to get as much in as we can and we have had a good week in Coventry.

"But these couple of days now, we need to use the as best we can and produce.”

GB arrived in Croatia yesterday and their first port of call was the Dom Sportova Arena to drop off the kit.

The venue - which was built in 1972 - is located to the west of Zagreb and Dowd already likes what he sees.

“It's always nice to turn up to have good facilities,” said Dowd, who missed February’s Olympic Pre-Qualifiers in Cortina through injury,

“Obviously ice is a major thing and it looks like nice, firm ice out there.

"It is a big sheet with huge end zones.

“We will get down to practice and start figuring out how to adapt our breakouts and what patterns we are going to take.

"We will get out there twice tomorrow, get practice under way, feel the ice and see how it goes."