Glenrothes teenager Chad Smith returned to the Fife Flyers fold last week after winning a bronze medal with Great Britain Under 20s.
Smith missed last weekend’s Elite League action as he was in Dumfries with Slava Koulikov’s squad competing in the Under-20 World Championship Division II Group A.
And while the GB youngsters were hopeful of securing gold and promotion, Smith was still delighted to bring back his first international medal after finishing third in the table.
“It was something else – a great experience,” the 18-year-old told the Press.
“It was my first time with the U20s, and my first medal, so I’ve got it hanging up in my room. It could’ve been better, we were going for the gold, but it’s good to get my first one.”
GB started the competition with victories over Romania, Netherlands and Estonia to put themselves in the hunt for the gold medal.
A penalty shots defeat to Korea in the penultimate game meant a win over Japan was required in the final fixture to finish top of the group.
However, a 5-2 defeat meant GB U20s had to settle for third place and bronze.
“The first three games were really good, confidence was rolling and we were getting results,” Smith said.
“We knew the last two games were the most important but we’d already beaten Korea in a warm-up and we were maybe a bit too cocky and got beat in a shoot-out.
“Then on the Sunday against Japan we were just really unfortunate.
“The scoreline doesn’t show the real game, because it was really close.
“We still ended up with the bronze medal, and I think everyone was really happy with the whole tournament.”
The former Auchmuty High School pupil explained that his EIHL experience helped him make a bigger impact on the international stage.
“It helped a lot,” he said. “I was put on the penalty kill with the GB team and I my training with Flyers came in huge because I knew all the tactics and positioning.
“Physically I was stronger than quite a lot of them, and puck skills and confidence all came into it as well.
“I got decent ice time playing mainly on the fourth line, trying to get boys pumped up, hitting, getting pucks low and grinding it out.”
Smith is currently in his first full year as a pro with Flyers and is combining his training with petroleum engineering classes at college.
“It’s been a really good season so far and I’m just learning and getting better every day,” he said.
“The older guys are great with me and I’ve been getting chances on the ice as well.
“The harder I train the more it’s going to come.”