Fife ice hockey youngsters star for Team GB in Korea

Chad Smith is all smiles after netting for GB U18s against Croatia. Pic: Karl Denham
Chad Smith is all smiles after netting for GB U18s against Croatia. Pic: Karl Denham

Two ice hockey youngsters returned from South Korea this week after starring at the U18 World Championships.

Fifers Chad Smith and Caly Robertson were both part of the Great Britian U18 side that retained its place in Division 2 Group A after two wins and two defeats.

Both forwards managed a goal each in the tournament as GB cancelled out defeats to hosts Korea and Romania with victories over Lithuania and Croatia.

Chad (18), from Glenrothes, told the Press: “Truthfully, the aim before we went out there was to try and get a medal.

“The way things worked out, it ended up being a fight for survival.

“If you’re not making progress you want to stay the same at least, so everyone was happy in the end to stay up.

“If we lost against Croatia in the final game, we would have been relegated so we had to get a point against them.

“It was a pressure game and we managed to get the win.

“It was good experience, high-tempo hockey, and good to play at that level with a great bunch of team mates. I’d never been to Asia before, so it was good seeing the culture.

“It just put a good seal on the end of the season.”

The youngsters were not the only Fifers on the the trip – the GB U18s are coached by Kirkcaldy’s Martin Grubb, the current head coach of Solways Sharks.

For Smith the excursion to Korea came just a few weeks after he made his Elite League breakthrough for Fife Flyers, and he admitted it was tough to miss out on the play-off matches against Belfast Giants.

“I wanted to be there with the boys at the play-offs because it’s an experience I’ve not had yet,” he said.

“But at the same time it was good to get away with the GB guys as well.

“The choice was there, but I’d made a commitment to the GB team beforehand, so it was a case of keeping to my word.”

Smith was the youngest player on the Flyers roster this season but that may change after this week’s EIHL announcement that next season’s roster limits will be set at 19 plus up to three British trained players born in 1994 or later.

“It’s a step forwad for the league as a whole in terms of bringing through the juniors,” Smith said. “Everyone who is U23 will see that as a good thing.

“It’s not really a secret that I want to stay with Flyers. Before I left I spoke to Todd and Hutchy, and once my season is fully closed out, then I’ll be in touch with them.”

Smith and Robertson, who hails from Kirkcaldy, are now preparing to play for Fife Falcons in the upcoming British U20 finals before the Scotland v England U19 match in May.