'Starting Olympic journey is an honour' - Steelers defenceman Ben O'Connor says

Great Britain and Sheffield Steelers' defenceman Ben O'Connor says it's a special honour to play in any Olympic Qualifying tournament.

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 6:05 am

Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena hosts the IIHF Olympic Pre-Qualification Round 3 Group J tournament this weekend with GB joined by Estonia, Hungary and Romania.

The winners go through to August's final qualifying for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

O'Connor, who is set to win his 60th cap against Romania this afternoon, said: "Starting any Olympic journey is always an honour.

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Ben O'Connor ready for Olympics qualifier tonight. Pic by Dean Woolley

"It is every athlete's dream to play in the Olympics and it is fantastic we have a chance to qualify every four years.

"We know a tough task awaits us in the next few days as there are no easy games at international level."

GB got together in Nottingham on Monday evening and have had two days of intense preparation for today's opening game.

"It is great to see all the GB boys again," added O'Connor. "Most of us battle against each other all season long, but then we just click when we meet to put on the Great Britain shirt.

"As ever, the spirit in the camp is good and we are all focused for our first game against Romania."

The tournament gets under way this afternoon with Hungary facing Estonia (3:30pm), before GB take-on Romania (7:30pm).

After Friday’s rest day, Hungary will face Romania on Saturday afternoon (2pm), with Estonia against Great Britain in the evening (6pm).

The final day of the tournament is Sunday and Estonia round-off their matches by facing Romania (2pm), while Great Britain play Hungary (6pm).