Aston ice hockey star Abby takes on the world at Winter Youth Olympics

A teenage ice hockey player from Aston is currently out in Switzerland competing in the Winter Youth Olympics.

Sunday, 12th January 2020, 3:38 pm

Abby Rowbotham, 14, is part of a mixed nationality girls’ team which is taking part in the event in Lausanne in a three-on-three format which makes its debut in this year’s Games.

And with Abby being the youngest member of Team GB’s entire 28-strong Olympic squad across all sports – the biggest the country has ever sent – her mum Claire, who is also the GB ice hockey players’ manager, says it’s a great experience.

She said: “Great Britain have seven ice hockey players in Switzerland altogether but none of them can play in the same team as another.

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“Countries that weren’t able to qualify independently were given the chance to put forward a maximum of seven of their best players – four girls and three boys – to instead be part of the mixed nationality sides in a separate tournament to the main ones which include countries like the US, Canada, Sweden, Slovakia and Japan.

“This means Abby has players from countries including Romania, China, Chinese Taipei, Argentina, Switzerland, Spain and the Czech Republic in her team.

“There are shared translators available but 90 per cent of the players in the squad speak good enough English for it not to be too difficult in terms of the language barrier.”

Abby, who has been playing ice hockey for five years, competes for Sheffield Ice Hockey Academy – Sheffield Greyhounds and is the assistant captain. She also plays for Sheffield Shadows U16 girls and has been part of the England setup for the last two years, recently being selected for the U16 girls team last week.

Abby’s team in Lausanne, Team Red, lost their opening games on Friday and Saturday before a double-header took place on Sunday.

They will play three more group games this week and if they qualify from their group, they will continue into the semi-finals and potentially the medal matches.

Abby said: “It is a massive honour to represent Great Britain at the Youth Olympics, be involved in a very special event and to play a sport I love so much.

“To be a small part of such a massive GB team across so many events is very humbling.”